Monday, November 29, 2010

Dying Grace

Labor Day, 2010

I have been sitting here trying to sort my thoughts into something at least partially comprehensible.  Last week was a busy week, but it doesn't hold a candle to the amount of energy needed for me to successfully finish this week. I have doctor's appointments today and Wednesday, then eye surgery on Friday with a follow up at the eye surgeon's office on Saturday.

As if that were not enough, Daddy, my sisters and I have an appointment with a Hospice Case Manager on Thursday afternoon.  During the last hospitalization, the lung specialist advised that we do this and begin developing a relationship with the Hospice team so that the transition from Home Health care to Hospice care can be as near seamless as possible for Daddy and for us when that time comes.

I have walked this road before and I do not hesitate to say I am not prepared for another journey on this particular pathway.  However, whether I'm ready or not, the journey must be made.  I openly admit my feelings are selfish ones.  I know full well that the conclusion of this journey will mean Daddy is at home with Jesus and will never suffer again.  As I said, I know my feelings are selfish.  As the Diamond Rio song goes "God only cries for the living".

I often think of that scripture that advises us to weep when a baby is born and rejoice when a saint makes their final journey as the angels escort them into their eternal rest.  When I was younger, I simply could not understand that.  Terry and I were making monumental investments into achieving a full term pregnancy and birth of a child.  Investments not only financially, but emotionally and spiritually as well.  How could it be that all the tears we had shed when we lost a pregnancy, or simply refused to attain one, were wrong?

As I aged and matured, I came to understand that our tears were not wrong, but did come from a place of incomplete understanding.  After having witnessed the trials of others parenting their children and the joys of saints making their final crossing, I now more clearly understand that scripture and indeed have come to view my own mortality as a blessing and my call to go home as an exciting time and place in my future.

Daddy has talked a lot lately about dying grace.  I told him that, after having witnessed Terry's home going, I am absolutely sure that the Lord grants dying grace to His children.  However, I do not believe it is an event, but a process in which the Lord grants the grace you need to meet each day's challenges as you make your journey.  We receive the strength for the journey, the peace with the process, and the understanding of what is happening to us as we progress on the pathway.  It is as though God spoon feeds His children during that transition just as He did when were young and immature Christians.

So, we will make a definite step on Daddy's journey this week.  As the Lord reminds us in His Word....

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants."

Psalm 116:15 (NIV)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Being Thankful

Yosemite Chapel
Yosemite National Park

As I began to reflect on this season of Thanksgiving, I realized what a truly blessed woman I am.  Earlier this week, I reached my 53rd birthday.  I have known the love of two Christian parents who sacrificed all my sisters and I.  They gave us love and raised us to love the Lord and to serve Him.  I have two sisters who have loved me and supported me.  I had grandparents who thought the sun rose in me and never let me forget it.  I have never known real hunger or gone without a warm, dry place to lay my head in the wet and cold and have, for most of my life, had an air conditioned place to cool my heals in the dog days of summer. I have been loved and cherished by a man who loved with me with his whole heart and who loved only God more than me.  I have always had more than enough to eat and clothing to keep me warm and decently covered.  I have had friends who loved me, prayed for me and supported me.

But above and beyond all of that, I have known the love, grace and mercy of a living God who gave His only Son for me.  I have been partaker of the forgiveness of a sinless Savior and felt the presence of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of God, during the best and worst times of my life.  I have come to understand that walking with Jesus has to do with RELATIONSHIP, not religion.  For that, I am perhaps the most thankful!  Everything else in my life has taken on new meaning in that context.

Every day of my life I am thankful for all that God has so graciously given to me; but today I am more aware of all I have to be thankful for.  I am also thankful my forefathers saw fit to set aside this day each year to help us reflect on our blessings and to spend time consciously being thankful.  As the Lord tells us in His Word......

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.” 

Colossians 3:17

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Day At The Movies

Me and Momma at my Bridal Shower
June 6, 1975

When you think of your life, do you see a movie or perhaps a slide show of the years gone by?  I do.  It's a most precious time to see faces I haven't seen in a long while, to hear voices I haven't heard, and to remember experiences that brought both great joy and sometimes, great pain.

Yesterday was Momma's 71st birthday.  I haven't spent a birthday with Momma since 2005, but yesterday the movie that played in my mind throughout the day was as if she was here with us again.  I thought of things I haven't recalled in years and saw pictures of her in my mind that I haven't seen in longer than I care to remember.  I heard her sweet voice talking to us and singing as she used to do at church and around the house.  As clearly as if she were sitting beside me, I heard her calling my name and saw the smile on her beautiful face and heard her infectious laugh.

Yep, my time at the movies was precious yesterday.  I sure hope for a re-run from time to time; it is a movie I love and never tire of seeing.

Momma, ca. 1990's

Monday, July 26, 2010

Trust and Obey

It's been a rough day here on Chandler Hill.  I was up all night on Saturday night throwing up.  I was too worn out to go to church on Sunday, which always leaves me bummed.  On a bright note, I did get a great surprise on Sunday afternoon!  My youngest nephew, Caleb, who is in Basics at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO called me.  I was so shocked and so happy to hear his voice.  It was definitely a gift from the Lord at a time when I really needed cheering up.

I tried not to eat too much during the day because I didn't want to be up all night again.  Well, so far, not doing so well in that area!  However, I did sit with Daddy and listened to a recording of Dr. Steve Gaines, Senior Pastor at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, TN.  I always record his Sunday sermons on my DVR.  He preached about the right relationship of the man and woman within the parameters of God's plan.

As he was preaching, I had a sort of epiphany regarding the way I have been feeling since Terry's home going.  As a Christian woman, I have sought diligently to have a right relationship with God and to maintain that relationship through a right relationship in my marriage.  As Dr. Gaines was speaking about the roles of men and women in the Christian marriage, I realized exactly what I've been feeling....not in my right place!

My place was always as the submissive in our marriage and in our spiritual relationship.  It is God's plan to make the husband the head of the family and to hold him responsible for the well being of the family.  I was not always good at that, I will be the first to admit!  It came to me honestly, first because of my sin nature and it's natural rebellion against anything of the Lord; and second because my own Momma struggled with her submissive role in her marriage to Daddy.

Over the years, it was something I had to work very hard at in order to be able to submit lovingly and with a good attitude about.  Some of that was probably due to the fact that Terry didn't understand his role as the spiritual head of our household.  He had not been raised in that kind of environment and found it foreign.  As the years went by and we both understood our roles better, it became easier and easier to live the life God planned for us.

The rewards of doing it God's way were many.  One of the greatest was the absolute trust it fostered between us.  We always discussed issues in our marriage, but we both came to understand that, when it came down to decision time and there was any disagreement whatsoever,we did what Terry thought was right.  I came to accept that the responsibility at that point was his and he came to understand that being responsible wasn't such a burden when he gave it all to the Lord.

It made for a wonderfully harmonious relationship, especially in the later years of our marriage.  Then, when Terry became so ill and unable to function mentally, that paradigm began to shift and I came to understand that the responsibility was now resting on my shoulders.  Even at that, I still had him to talk things through with.  He often was not able to even think clearly enough to offer an opinion, but he always listened to hear me out and help me talk it out until I reached a decision.

That's why I find it all so overwhelming now.  I no longer have my spiritual head to guide me.  Of course I know I have the Lord and goodness knows, I couldn't make it without Him.  It is, however, a very difficult thing to transition from the physical presence of your head to that of a spiritual presence only.  There have been a lot of major decisions car needed 4 new tires, I need a new roof on the house, my well is having troubles, my HVAC unit is perhaps on it's last leg AND I would like to do a small addition. 

All of these things are not inexpensive things to be considered.  The new tires were a given, as are most of the other projects.  The only optional project is really the addition.  Financial decisions were never difficult for me.  I prayed over them, I talked them over with Terry and then I made a decision.  Suddenly, I feel paralyzed at the that final stage.  I seem unable to actually make the decision.  Dr. Gaines teaching tonight helped me understand why.

I am always so amazed at God and how absolutely perfect His timing is.  I had absolutely no idea I would hear Caleb's voice again until August 13 at his graduation.  Yet, there he was today on the other end of that phone line just when I needed a lift so very badly!  I am struggling so hard with all of these financial decisions and BOOM!, just when I need it, the Lord speaks through Dr. Gaines and gives me the reassurance I need to understand my reluctance.  He also sends confirmation that I am only experiencing this because I had a right relationship with Terry and this transition is normal for me.  I love the first verse and refrain from the old hymn Trust and Obey:

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Walking with Jesus is a journey.  We let ourselves suffer much more pain than is necessary because we fail to trust Jesus and obey His Word!

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Am A Sinner

Yes, it's true.  I am a sinner.  Last week I sinned.  Not just those everyday sins you commonly commit.  It was a biggie!

I am passionate about many things, one of which is politics.  I am a Right-Wing Social Conservative and I am proud of it!  I believe in morality and doing things the way the Bible teaches.  It matters not to me whether it's my private life, a politician or entertainer's public life or the political life of my country.  Right is right, and wrong is wrong.  Period!  I'm usually not shy about voicing my opinions, nor am I shy about telling someone else why I disagree with their opinions.

I have a particular friend whom I have known since childhood.  She is a really sweet lady...until you begin to discuss politics!  She is as far left as I am right.  I don't understand her and she does not understand me.  I try very hard not to be ugly to her, although it is so easy to be so!  You see, I told you, I am a sinner!

Last week, we entered into a couple of discussions on Facebook; one on my sister's page and one on my friend's page.  It had been a rough week.  I was struggling emotionally to weather yet another onslaught of grief, as well as dealing with some medical issues and the inability to find the doctor I needed due to cuts in Medicare reimbursement rates.  I was emotionally and physically drained.  When I am in that state, I know better than to involve myself in debate with this particular friend.  Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of doing what I should not do.

We engaged and exchanged comments for a while until I got so frustrated that I just could take it no longer!  I deleted her from my Friend's list and called it quits with her!  I felt so good!  I was thinking to myself, that just shows her!!!!  Strangely though, I didn't' feel well about the whole exchange.  I couldn't understand why it kept bothering me.  I didn't have to take her abuse!  It's MY Facebook page and I can add or delete whomever I choose!  How DARE she upset me like that?!

I raged on and on and all the while growing more and more tense in my spirit.  The Holy Spirit tried so hard to speak gently to me.  But, nooooooo, I was having none of that!  Look God, I'm a Christian.  I know right from wrong.  You don't have go sending the HS to help ME out here!  I have a right to feel this way.  This chic treated me badly!  You just don't understand!

Then, it hit me.  Hard, with the impact of a boulder when it hits the ground after a long fall down a mountainside.  That sweet, gentle little voice inside me saying very quietly, very gently "Yes, I know child.  They treated me badly too.  They mocked me; they spat upon me, they beat me, they hung me on  a cross and vilified me before my own mother.  I know how you feel, but you won't make things better by treating her the way she has treated you.  You have to love her in spite of herself.  I love her and if you love me, you must love her too."

There it was, as plain as the nose on my face....I have to love her, I must treat her well no matter how she treats me, I have to forgive her whether I want to or not.  I so hate it when He puts me in my place!  I was already suffering, I didn't need this from Him right now!  I needed understanding and encouragement!  Why was He doing this to me????

"Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart
and with all your soul and with all your mind. 
This is the first and greatest commandment.
 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 
All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Matthew 22: 37 - 40  (NIV)

Love your neighbor as yourself.  I try very hard to treat myself very well.  I listen to my opinions, I respect my right to express my opinions.  Why would I treat my friend any differently?  I don't agree with her, but how can I ever influence her if I cut her out of my life?  Or, how can I influence her for the better if I treat her badly?

I was so convicted in my heart!  You would think the very first thing I would do is repent, right?  WRONG!  I continued to wallow in my self-pity and argue with the Lord.  Every word said at church on Sunday was directed right at me!  I couldn't walk away from it when I tried!

So, tonight I did what I should have done three days ago.  I made her my friend again and took up the debate where we left off!  I warned her that I could not debate often, but never to take my silence for agreement!!!  Now, I just have to remember to trust the Lord for my strength when I enter those debates and stop depending on my own might!

"Then he said to me, “This is what the Lord says to Zerubbabel:
It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies."

Zechariah 4: 6  (NLT)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independance Day --- What Does It Mean To Me?

"O say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave,
O're the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

I've been thinking a lot about Independence Day and what it means to me.  As some of you know, I love genealogy.  I have made it my passion over the past several years to investigate my roots.  So, when thinking about Independence Day, I cannot help but think of my ancestors and what they sacrificed in order for me to sit here on this early July 4th morning and write what I feel and expect others to read it without fear of persecution from my government.

I think of my 8th Great Grandfather, William (Willie) Stephens II, born 1711 in York Co, VA and died 1781 in the harbor at Beaufort, NC on a British Prison Ship.  History teaches us that conditions on board the British Prison Ships were atrocious, with most prisoners dying of disease or starvation.  The few who survived the ordeal told stories of atrocities too offensive to be repeated.

My 5th Great Grandfather, John Thurman, born 3 Dec, 1757 in Prince Edward Co., VA and died 6 Oct, 1827 in Sevier Co., TN.  While residing in Albemarle Co., VA, John Thurman volunteered sometime between the years 1776 and 1779, served at various times amounting to three years in all, as a Private in the Virginia Troops under Captains John Miller, John Key, Sergeants Christopher Clark, Epperson, Brown and Benjamin Harris and Colonel Lindsey, was in several engagements, one of which was near Charlottesville, VA, and was at the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, after which he was discharged in October, 1781.
I reflect upon my 4th Great Grandfather, Sanford C. Allen, born 1794 in Fairfax Co., VA and died Dec 1865 in Sevier Co., TN after losing 4 of his 5 sons in the War Between the States and after having fought himself in the War of 1812.
There was my  3rd Great Grandfather, William Allen, born 1822 in Sevier Co., TN and died 28 Feb, 1863 on the battlefield near Nashville, Davidson Co., TN of yellow fever while serving in K Co., 2nd TN Calvary, 14th U.S. Corp., Dept. of the Cumberland.  He left behind a  widow and 4 children between the ages of 2 and 15 years.  His oldest child, my 2nd Great Grandfather, Gideon A. Allen, left Sevier Co., TN about 1887 and headed west with his family to search for his father's grave.  To my knowledge, it was never found.  William and 3 of his brothers died in service to their country, 2 of which are buried at Stones River National Cemetery in Rutherford Co., TN
Another 4th Great Grandfather, William Nathaniel Atkinson, born 1769 in North Carolina and died 2 Apr, 1862 at the Battle of Shiloh in Hardin Co., TN.  He was carried to his home in neighboring Wayne Co., TN, where neighbors had gathered to construct a coffin for him.  His son-in-law and grandson had begun the trek back home for his funeral and were captured by Confederate troops.  After learning of their plight, the Confederates released the men, but refused to give them horses to make the trip.  The two men walked the 10+ miles back to their home place where William Atkinson was buried on the following day.
William's son, John M. Atkinson (my 3rd Great Grandfather), born about 1814 in Wayne Co., TN, also served with the 6th TN Calvary, Co., K during the Civil War.  John's son, David James Atkinson, my 2nd Great Grandfather, born 9 May, 1845 in Wayne Co., TN and died 17 Aug, 1928 in Hardeman Co., TN, also served with Hurst's Nation in the 6th TN Calvary.  Hurst's Nation was a group of Union sympathizers located within Wayne Co., TN. 
David James Atkinson
1845 - 1928
The War Between the States
There was my Grand Uncle, Ralph F. Newland, who served in World War II in Germany and received numerous decorations for his service.  Uncle Buster never spoke of his war time experiences once he returned home.  Heroes in my family include numerous and varied cousins who served in both World Wars. 
Ralph F. "Buster" Newland
1915 - 1998
World War II --- Germany
A cousin, John William Howell, born 27 Dec, 1949 in Hardeman Co., TN and died 15 Feb, 1971 in Quang Tri Region, Republic of Vietnam, South Vietnam.  Johnny was killed in battle by small weapons fire.  He served with E Company, 187th Infantry Division, 3rd Battalion, Light Weapons Infantry Division, U. S. Army.   He was a Sergeant and was engaged to Debbie.  I will never forget the sadness that befell our entire county when news of Johnny's death reached his home.  Debbie died in a motorcycle accident less than 2 years after Johnny's death.  Most people said she simply could not stand to live without Johnny.  This is a link to Johnny's Virtual Wall page:  .
My Daddy, Van P. McDonald, born 4 Nov, 1932 in Hardeman Co., TN, was drafted into the Army after being turned down as a volunteer for the Air Force.  He was due to ship out to Korea on the day the peace agreement was signed.  His orders were changed and he spent 18 months in Germany instead.  He was a Corporal and was offered a promotion to Sergeant upon re-enlistment.  He declined the offer.  He was a squad leader for a sharp shooter squad in Co. K of the 12th Regiment and received numerous citations for his abilities as a marksman.  He was notified of possible re-activation to Vietnam as an Army Reserve sniper, but thankfully that never materialized.
Van P. McDonald
1932 - Present
Korean Conflict Era
My nephew-in-love, Brian K. Eppers, served with the U. S. Army Reserve as a Medic and was deployed to Iraq for 12 months between Dec, 2004 and Dec, 2005.  He continues to serve with the Dept. of Homeland Security in a WMD Response Unit. 
Brian K. Eppers
1980 - Present

And, most recently, my youngest nephew, Caleb M. Watkins, has joined the TN National Guard and is currently in Basic Training in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO with a Military Police Battalion.  He was just appointed a squad leader, following in his Papaw Mac's footsteps.
Caleb M. Watkins
1991 - Present
TN National Guard
L-R:  Jake, Charlotte, Ricky and Caleb
These are but a few of the men and women in my ancestry who have fought, and many died, for the independence I celebrate today.  And, my ancestors are but a few of the many hundreds of thousands who have served and died from every corner of our nation in order that we might enjoy liberty.  What an awesome responsibility we have to honor those men and women and continue the fight to keep our nation free!
God Bless the U.S.A.!!!!!! 
And, God Bless those courageous men and women
 who continue to sacrifice so freely that we might remain free!!!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ordinary, Extraordinary Life!!!

It's very early morning here....4:03 a.m. to be exact.  I awoke around 3:15 a.m. hungry, which is extremely odd for me.  I cannot tell you the last time I was actually hungry.  It is a rare occurrence for me.  My tummy occasionally gets empty and I eat a little bit because my tummy aches when it's empty.  Thank you ulcer disease!  However, hunger is not something I am accustomed to feeling.  So, when I woke up hungry I was a bit confused.

I got up and ate, are you ready for this......sauerkraut with wieners left over from last evenings supper!  I know, most people eat sauerkraut with sausages, but Daddy can't eat sausage due to his own tummy issues and has always liked hot dogs sliced into his sauerkraut.  So, for supper last night, I made an old fashioned 'country supper' for him.  We had sauerkraut with wieners, green beans, stewed potatoes and crescent rolls.  We prefer cornbread, but he rarely eats it anymore because the cornmeal particles get under his dentures and irritate his mouth. So, crescent rolls it was.

Daddy ate until I thought he would pop!  It was such a simple meal and took minutes to prepare, yet you would have thought he was sitting down to a royal buffet!  I cannot tell you how good it made me feel that he seemed to enjoy his first meal with me so well!  He complimented me several times on how good everything was.  Well, except that I didn't have enough salt in the potatoes, of course. 

I use very, very little salt in my food.  I got accustomed to cooking without it when Terry was diagnosed with liver disease.  I can barely eat food prepared at my youngest sister's house because it tastes briny to me.  Also, most restaurant food seems too salty to me.  Poor Daddy, I had to scrounge to even find the salt shaker so he could add his own!  I had to keep saying to myself "Now, if I were Jake, where would I put the salt shaker"?!!!!

We ate our supper and I cleaned the kitchen.  Then we settled in for a little TV.  He had watched his nightly Wheel of Fortune broadcast while I cleaned the kitchen.  There are 2 programs which he hates to miss.....The Price Is Right and Wheel of Fortune!  Other than that, he likes his news at least 3 times a day and that's about it for his TV preferences.  I am learning quickly that, when he isn't interested in the TV, it's best that I not be interested either!  He prefers to talk to me when he isn't watching.  Of course, he doesn't say a word all day UNLESS I am watching TV!  I love it!

We were both tired from having made two trips to Jackson this week for his doctor's appointments, as well as shopping for new chairs and moving him.  So, by 10 p.m., we were both ready for bed! I guess that's why I woke up so early.  I'm not accustomed to getting settled in for the evening so early!  What's that old saying....early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise?  Well, I guess I now know why I'm neither healthy, wealthy nor wise, huh?!

It was such an ordinary, extraordinary day with such an ordinary, extraordinary ending to the day.  I LOVED IT! 

Precious Heavenly Father, thank you so very much for allowing me to have Daddy in my home and take care of him.  I am so blessed to have the opportunity and so thankful You have chosen to allow us to spend this time together.  My heart was so ready for this.  Thank you for loving me and giving me the desires of my heart.  In the Name Of Jesus.......AMEN.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A New Adventure!

Today is the day....the beginning of a new adventure for me and Daddy!  After going to visit the GI doctor in a few hours, Daddy will officially move in with me.  I am excited for the opportunity to care for him, to give back a small portion of all he has given me.  I am also a bit anxious.  I have some mighty big shoes to fill!  He has lived with both of my sisters and they have given him excellent care.  I only want to take care of him well and provide for his needs as best I can.  I am depending the the Lord for the strength to do that and I believe with my whole heart He will give me that strength.

I seem to do so much better when I am taking care of someone else.  Even my own doctor has said as much.  Although he did remind me that a large portion of caring for others is taking care of yourself!  I promised him I would do my best to do better at that on this go round than on the last!  He laughed and told me he intended to hold me to that!

I do have some health issues that must be addressed daily and have a new development to deal with on the horizon.  I'm not sure what that will entail, but then are we ever sure what life holds for us?  I cannot just sit idly by and let life pass me up while I cower in the corner and worry about what my tomorrows may hold.  That's a complete lack of faith and I refuse to walk a faithless path!  The Lord has been there for me at every turn all the years of my life.  I know He will not desert me now.

I've never felt more sure of my confidence in the Lord or more sure that I was doing what He wanted me to do.  I have known since my very early childhood that I have a caregivers heart.  God placed that heart within me because He had a mission for me.  Taking care of others seems to be my personal mission field and I have to say, I totally enjoy it.  From my earliest memory, I have wanted to be a nurse or a doctor.  I was never physically able to do that due to my own health problems.  However, as one of my nephews pointed out to me once, I've been doing it basically all of my life without the degree!  I'm good with that!

So, let the new adventure begin!  As that old song says "Many things about tomorrow I don't seem to understand; but I know who holds tomorrow, and I know who holds my hand"!  So, on I go holding to the hand of Jesus and knowing He is leading me each step of the way and carrying me when I need to be carried! 

"By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that's not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.

There's more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we're hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we're never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can't round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!"

Romans 5: 1-5  (The Message)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

My Daddy

Father's Day Weekend

Again it is Father's Day.  Every year I struggle with knowing just what to buy for Daddy.  My sisters are no help, they're struggling right alongside me!  What do you give a man who has given his all to you since the day you were born?  How can you possibly BUY him anything that can begin to tell him how precious he is to you?

This year, we decided to make him a photo album of our years together.  We started with his childhood and worked our way forward to the present.  It was no easy task!  However, we managed to compress all those years into 20 pages of photos and memories.  We are so excited to give it to him!  I have no idea if he will like it or not, but we had a ball putting it together and remembering.  So, perhaps it's more a gift for us than for him?!  We'll find out in a few hours, I suppose!

Daddy was never the 'touchy-feely' type of Daddy.  He didn't play with us a lot or tell us he loved us often, but we always knew he did.  He worked hard every day of his life to provide for our family, working both in a factory and on the farm.  In the very early years of my life, he was not a Christian.  However, once he became a Christian, he was totally devoted to the Lord and to our church.  Our family was in church at least three times every week; no excuses allowed.

Over the years, he softened and is now a precious man who tells us he loves us often, almost every time I speak to him.  He hugs us and is gentle with us in a way he never was before.  Since Momma went home to be with Jesus, he has become much more dependant on us.  He worries that he's too much trouble on us and says so often.  The three of us just want to give back to him what he has given to us all of our, devotion, security and never-ending support.

Next week, he comes to live with me full time.  He's not terribly excited about it because it means leaving the house where he and Momma raised us.  However, he is so agreeable about it and has only said that he doesn't want to be trouble on me.  I have to admit that I'm just a little bit anxious about it.  I've never taken care of him full time before.  However, I know we will be fine.  He loves me and I love him and we'll make whatever adjustments need to be made in order to make it work.

I just want to honor him because he deserves it.  He has never thought it was too much trouble to give me what I needed, no matter what that was.  He stepped aside gracefully when I fell in love with Terry and was a supportive father-in-law.  He never inserted himself into our marriage or offered advice that wasn't first asked for.  Terry often said that he was so thankful to have had him as a father-in-law because he filled some of the gaps left within Terry from having grown up without his own father in his life.  Terry often went to Daddy for advice and was always so thankful he could do so.

So, today is Father's Day and again I am speechless.  I don't have words to express how much I love Daddy or how thankful I am that the Lord made me his daughter.  I am so beyond blessed to have him in my life.  The time will come when Jesus calls him home.  I'm so grateful the Lord let me have him for this long.  He is a blessing that will always exert influence in my life.  I will always love him and be thankful for all he has taught me.

I love you, Daddy.  Happy Father's Day!


Monday, June 14, 2010

Because You Loved Me

June 14, 1975
Our Wedding Day


For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right

For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I'll be forever thankful, baby

You're the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You're the one who saw me through
Through it all

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn't speak
You were my eyes when I couldn't see
You saw the best there was in me

Lifted me up when I couldn't reach
You gave me faith 'cause you believed
I'm everything I am
Because you loved me, ooh, baby

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe, I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because
I was loved by you

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach

You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love, I had it all
I'm grateful for each day you gave me

Maybe, I don't know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because
I was loved by you

You were always there for me,
The tender wind that carried me
The light in the dark shining your love into my life
You've been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

I'm everything I am
Because you loved me.
                              Lyrics by:  Diane Warren

Mother's Day 2008
Our Last Mother's Day Together

We both changed a lot over the years together, some changes for the better and some for the worse, but one thing remained constant.....our love and commitment for and to each other and our Lord.  I am forever a better person because I knew Terry's love and devotion.  I'd like to think the same was true for him, that I made him a better person as well.  He often told me I helped him become the man he knew God wanted him to be.  If I did, it's only because his love rescued me in so many more ways than perhaps even he ever knew.

Today would have been our 35th anniversary.  I will love and miss him every day for the remainder of my life.  I so anxiously await the day when I see him again in heaven.  First, I want to see my Jesus; then, I want to see my Terry!  What joy awaits eternity with both my Savior and those who loved me so dearly here!  It's true what that old song says, "I've got more to go to heaven for than I had yesterday"!!!!

I love you my precious Terry.  I have for so long I can no longer remember what it was like not to love you and I will continue to do so for all eternity.

"And said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife,
 and the two will become one flesh'?
 So they are no longer two, but one.
Therefore what God has joined together,
 let man not separate."

Matthew 19: 5-6  (NIV)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Letting Go and Moving On

The 'men' in my life!
Caleb, Jake, Jared and Adam
Easter 2010

Well, today I think I have just come as close as I ever will to experiencing the pain a Mom must feel when her baby leaves home.  My nephew, Jake, started moving out of my house today.  He is moving back with his parents until he can find a place so as to make room for me to move Daddy in.  It is so bittersweet.

Jake has always been close to me.  He was born in October, 1985 and our first child, Ben, would have been born in July, 1985 had he lived.  So, Jake has always held a sort of special place in my heart because he is the age my oldest child would have been.  We, well mostly I, talk for hours sometimes.  He works the 2nd shift in a quality control lab in a local industry and gets home about midnight.  He usually comes in, grabs a snack and sits with me in the living room and we chat for a while until he's ready to settle down and sleep.  I will miss those midnight chats!

He is also my fashion advisor, and I his.  On Sunday mornings we run from room to room saying "Hey, what do you think about this?" or "Does this match?"!!!!  I told him that I fear Papaw Mac won't be as astute a fashion advisor as is he!

Jake moved into our house shortly after we moved out in 2006 and has been here since.  When I moved back home earlier this year, I knew he would be moving out at some point, but I have sure gotten accustomed to his presence.  I have been so thankful to be back at home that I really haven't done anything to 'move' myself back in except bring my stuff and stay.  Now that he's taken his things from the walls and tables, it just looks so bare!  I'll have to get busy decorating now or I'll feel like I'm living in a hotel!

Transition used to be so easy for me.  I'm not sure if it's that I'm getting older or the fact that I've been through so much transition over the last few years, but it is really hard now.  I think this must the kind of blues mothers feel when their children start to leave the nest. 

Jake is such an excellent human being and has so many dreams and plans.  I love watching him continually growing and changing into the man I know God meant him to be.  It was so much fun having him here with me for these few months.  It is a time I will treasure for all my days.

Katie, my 'blond bombshell'
Mission Trip,Kenya, Africa

I have been privileged, since Terry's death, to live with each of Charlotte and Ricky's children for at least a few weeks and Debra's son lived with us for a couple of years before Terry's accident.  Even though we were not blessed to have our children live, we have been blessed to have wonderful relationships with our niece and nephews.  And now, the new generation is coming along and they seem to love me as much as I love them!  I cannot express with words how blessed I know I am!

And so, life goes on.....isn't it precious to see God working in our lives on a minute-by-minute basis?

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..."

Ecclesiastes 3: 1

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who was/is Riley?????

I have no idea who Riley was, but Momma was always asking me "Do you think you're living the life of Riley around here"?!

That was her response when I complained about doing what I was told to do or perform my chores as required.  Sometimes I wonder if my life was really just a lot different from others?  I mean, we had chores every day in addition to those things Momma and/or Daddy would just come up with off hand.  We were expected to keep our own rooms clean, as well as help with the entire house, the yard, the garden AND the farm animals!  Imagine that!

We knew we had best do our homework or there would be consequences...I mean, REAL consequences like lost privileges, a real good 'talking to' or maybe even a lash or two with a limb or a belt.  And, oh my goodness, I would have never dreamed of talking back to my parents!  The ONE way to guarantee a whipping was to talk back.  No warnings, no 'talking to', no nothing....just get ready to feel that limb or belt wrapping around those bare legs!

I marvel that I had to work at my own home, do my chores, mow the grass, help in the garden, help with the farm animals when Daddy needed it, do my homework and do all with a respectful attitude toward my parents.  If not, I would be punished, more often than not with that limb or belt!  Gosh!  And I turned out pretty ok, I think!  How did that happen?  Am I not supposed to be scared for life by being 'hit' by my parents?  Shouldn't I have a wounded psyche from all that work and expectations?  How did I manage to grow up, dare I say it, normal?!

I am so weary of hearing whining parents complaining that they cannot control their children.  I get so frustrated hearing kids and teens complaining of being 'bored' while Moms and Dads complain of having too much to do.  I'll tell you one thing for sure, I knew better than to let my parents hear me say I was bored!  They would have found something for me to do very quickly!  And, they didn't mind making it my responsibility to help with household chores so everyone could sit down together after supper to watch a little TV before bedtime.

I don't know, I guess I'm just OLD.  I don't understand the way things are done in families these days.  We didn't have the perfect family, far from it.  But, we managed to grow up to be well adjusted women who love the Lord, our parents and our families so Momma and Daddy must have done something right.  Don't you think?!

A refusal to correct is a refusal to love;
love your children by disciplining them.

 Proverbs 13.24  (The Message)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

"I love you from my soul..."

Was watching the movie 'Madea's Family Reunion' on TV earlier.  Missed a good part of it, but still enjoyed what I did see.  At the end of movie, a couple are exchanging vows in a wedding ceremony.  The guy says to the girl "I love you past my head, beyond my heart and from my soul; that place where only you and God abide". 

I love that line!  It so aptly describes what it is like to love the person you know God created just for you.  It makes me so sad to hear people bandy about the phrase 'I love you' with so little understanding of what real love is all about.  I hear people all the time talking about "falling in love" or "falling out of love".  I have always said, if love is something you can 'fall into', you'd best be very careful or you're likely to 'fall out' of it as well!

How sad that we have demoted the most precious of all human connections to the status of something we 'fall' into or out of.  Jesus did not 'fall into' love with mankind.  He chose to love us in spite of ourselves!  In that same manner, we must choose to love those around us, whether that love is romantic love, friendly love, family love or that all-encompassing agape love with which Jesus loved us.  What joy we rob ourselves of by allowing the Deceiver to convince us that love is so easily attained or so frivolously thrown aside.

Just tonight, a young female cousin posted on Facebook that those around her not blood related she called 'family' and those blood related she called 'relatives'.  She has been taught by her misguided parents that, because her blood family does not always agree with them or give them what they want, they are no longer real family.  How sad!  Sad for the adults and extremely so for the teenagers being reared in that home.  How sad that they have cheapened 'family' to mean only those who agree with you and who give you what you want, when you want it.  Sad, and selfish.

It is in those times of disagreement and disapproval that we can often learn the most about and from each other.  But, only if we open ourselves to the teaching of the Holy Spirit.  When we become unteachable, we become withered and angry; bitter at everyone who doesn't give us what we want and always praise and/or agree with us.  If we remain teachable, we allow ourselves the  joy of learning from those with whom we do not agree and growing in patience, compassion and understanding.

No wonder politics are such a mess in this country.  If families can't get along, how do we expect strangers to do so?  We have lost the art of listening to divergent opinions without judging each other.  We no longer know how to compromise without name calling.  It must be our way or no way.  Don't get me wrong, there are places where we must take a stand and not budge.  When Christian morals and principles are involved, there is no room for compromise.  But how immature we are when we cannot stand our ground in love and not disintegrate into bickering and verbal stone throwing.

I love you from my soul.......I'm going to do my best to remember that one; I like it.  Dearest Lord Jesus, help to love each one in my path from my soul, from Your heart.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Feeling 'Blusy"

It's about 6 a.m. and I'm sitting here at my computer trying to sort my thoughts into something that is discernible to all of you.  I have had several days of extreme sadness.  I'm not really sure what's going on.  It's no secret that I miss Terry more than I ever imagined I could.  However, even though I still have periods of sadness and almost overwhelming loneliness, I can honestly say I'm doing ok with the grief.

It's also no secret to anyone who knows me that I have some health issues that really get me down sometimes.  My blood sugar levels have been extremely high for quite some time now, ranging from 300+ to around 900.  I know that's one of the reasons I'm so out of sorts.  Who wouldn't be, right?!  However, Dr. Diffee started me on Lantus and that is slowly bringing the levels down and I feel so much better.  Even the nausea and vomiting are much better.  So, again, that seems to be so much better.

Daddy is getting weaker and having more health problems.  His mental status seems to be changing before our eyes.  He has always been a very regimented person, perhaps due to his time in the Army.  Medications MUST be taken on time, meals are necessary within a certain time frame, wake up time has been 7 a.m. since basically he retired and bed time is generally around 9:30 at night, occasionally that could go until 10:00 if he is really interested in something on T.V.  Breathing treatments are at 7 a.m., Noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.  That schedule just NEVER changes without a lot of complaining on his part.

Recently, he is getting up at least an hour earlier, doing his breathing treatments off schedule and talking a lot about driving himself to his doctor's appointments over in Jackson.  He hasn't even driven himself to Bolivar in many months!  These may sound small to anyone outside our inner family circle, but to me, Charlotte and Debra they are big changes for Daddy.  His breathing is much worse and the coughing is now so bad at night that he wakes Debra and Dwade from across the house and with both their bedroom doors closed.  So, that is of course a major source of concern for me, but nothing I didn't know was coming and haven't been expecting and preparing myself for.

Caleb, my youngest nephew, is leaving tomorrow afternoon to meet up with his group in Memphis.  They will fly out on Monday for Ft. Leonard Wood, MO for his Basic Training.  He will be there for about 10 weeks.  While it is bittersweet to see him so grown up, I am so proud of him for this choice!  He has been, since his childhood, always more responsible than his years.  He still is.  After his swearing in last weekend, we were leaving the stadium.  I was telling him how proud I was of him and how proud Uncle Terry would be too.  He hugged me tight and said he sure wished Uncle Terry could be there to give him a big ole Bear Hug!  Then, we both cried, but not sad tears; rather tears of joy in remembering how much Uncle Terry loved him!

So, there are the things going on in my life.  I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why I'm so 'blusy' that word?!  Probably not!  I do know this one thing, no matter how sad or lonely I feel, I only have to lift my hands to heaven and begin to praise my Savior and the tears flow.  Immediately I am filled with love that gathers me to my Father's breast and holds me in complete assurance and contentment.  The times are difficult, the days are long, but the love of my Lord is always MORE.....MORE than I deserve, MORE than I imagined, MORE than I can comprehend! 

I am so thankful I serve the God of MORE!!!!  Aren't you?!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Private Lives

Effective today, May 27, 2010, I have decided to take my blog private.  When this venture first began, I so much needed an outlet to express myself and all the emotional issues I was encountering.  As time has passed, I have come to yearn more and more for privacy in expressing myself.  I also often want to post here, but just don't have the energy or desire to 'dress up' the posts with pictures, etc.  I just want to express myself!

So, should you choose to visit from now on, you will most likely find words only.  I will, from time to time, post pictures, but it will be the exception not the rule.  My posts won't be profound but they will be my heart because that is what I need a space for at this time in my life.

Each of you who have received an invitation to view this blog have done so because I love you and trust you.  Please do not discuss my posts with others.  If you have the need to talk about something I post here, please either email me personally at , call me personally at 731-376-0287, which is my home number; or at 731-609-1800, which is my cell phone number.  I welcome your comments and input because I love you and care what your think.

If you choose not to re-visit, please leave me a comment asking me to remove you from the list so I will know you no longer wish to receive information from this blog.  It will not affect our relationship or the fact that I love you!

I'm looking forward to this new direction and have high hopes for the positive ways this will influence my life.  I love you all!  God bless you is my most fervent prayer!


Friday, April 2, 2010


The following was shared with me through email.  It touched me deeply and reminded me of what Easter is really all about.....NEW LIFE.  

Jesus bled and died on Calvary, lay in the tomb, but conquered death, hell and the grave when He rose up out of that tomb!  NEW LIFE!   He did all of that just me!  And, for you.  Salvation is free to us, but oh what a price our blessed Savior paid!

I pray you will reflect on what Jesus did for you as you face the weekend of activity and family fun.  If you haven't accepted His gift of NEW LIFE, I pray you will do so now, this very minute.



Jeremy was born with a twisted body and a slow mind. At the age of 12 he was still in second grade, seemingly unable to learn. His teacher, Doris Miller, often became exasperated with him. He would squirm in his seat, drool, and make grunting noises. At other times, he spoke clearly and distinctly, as if a spot of light had penetrated the darkness of his brain. Most of the time, however, Jeremy just irritated his teacher.

One day she called his parents and asked them to come in for a consultation. As the Forresters entered the empty classroom, Doris said to them, "Jeremy really belongs in a special school. It isn't fair to him to be with younger children who don't have learning problems. Why, there is a five year gap between his age and that of the other students."

Mrs. Forrester cried softly into a tissue, while her husband spoke. "Miss Miller," he said, "there is no school of that kind nearby. It would be a terrible shock for Jeremy if we had to take him out of this school. We know he really likes it here." Doris sat for a long time after they had left, staring at the snow outside the window. Its coldness seemed to seep into her soul. She wanted to sympathize with the Forresters. After all, their only child had a terminal illness. But it wasn't fair to keep him in her class. She had 18 other youngsters to teach, and Jeremy was a distraction. Furthermore, he would never learn to read and write. Why waste any more time trying?

As she pondered the situation, guilt washed over her. Here I am complaining when my problems are nothing compared to that poor family, she thought. Lord, please help me to be more patient with Jeremy. From that day on, she tried hard to ignore Jeremy's noises and his blank stares. Then one day, he limped to her desk, dragging his bad leg behind him.

"I love you, Miss Miller," he exclaimed, loud enough for the whole class to hear. The other students snickered, and Doris' face turned red. She stammered, "Wh-why that's very nice, Jeremy. N-now please take your seat."

Spring came, and the children talked excitedly about the coming of Easter. Doris told them the story of Jesus, and then to emphasize the idea of new life springing forth, she gave each of the children a large plastic egg. "Now," she said to them, "I want you to take this home and bring it back tomorrow with something inside that shows new life. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Miss Miller," the children responded enthusiastically-all except for Jeremy. He listened intently; his eyes never left her face. He did not even make his usual noises. Had he understood what she had said about Jesus' death and resurrection? Did he understand the assignment? Perhaps she should call his parents and explain the project to them.

That evening, Doris' kitchen sink stopped up. She called the landlord and waited an hour for him to come by and unclog it. After that, she still had to shop for groceries, iron a blouse, and prepare a vocabulary test for the next day. She completely forgot about phoning Jeremy's parents.

The next morning, 19 children came to school, laughing and talking as they placed their eggs in the large wicker basket on Miss Miller's desk. After they completed their math lesson, it was time to open the eggs. In the first egg, Doris found a flower. "Oh yes, a flower is certainly a sign of new life," she said. "When plants peek through the ground, we know that spring is here." A small girl in the first row waved her arm. "That's my egg,

Miss Miller," she called out. The next egg contained a plastic butterfly, which looked very real. Doris held it up. "We all know that a caterpillar changes and grows into a beautiful butterfly. Yes, that's new life, too." Little Judy smiled proudly and said, "Miss Miller, that one is mine." Next, Doris found a rock with moss on it. She explained that moss, too, showed life. Billy spoke up from the back of the classroom, "My daddy helped me," he beamed.

Then Doris opened the fourth egg. She gasped. The egg was empty. Surely it must be Jeremy's she thought, and of course, he did not understand her instructions. If only she had not forgotten to phone his parents. Because she did not want to embarrass him, she quietly set the egg aside and reached for another. Suddenly, Jeremy spoke up. "Miss Miller, aren't you going to talk about my egg?" Flustered, Doris replied, "But Jeremy, your egg is empty." He looked into her eyes and said softly, "Yes, but Jesus' tomb was
empty, too."

Time stopped. When she could speak again, Doris asked him, "Do you know why the tomb was empty?" "Oh, yes," Jeremy said, "Jesus was killed and put in there. Then His Father raised Him up."

The recess bell rang. While the children excitedly ran out to the school yard, Doris cried as the cold inside her melted completely away.

Three months later, Jeremy died. Those who paid their respects at the mortuary were surprised to see 19 eggs on top of his casket, all of them empty.

"By now it was noon. The whole earth became dark, the darkness lasting three hours—a total blackout.
The Temple curtain split right down the middle. Jesus called loudly,
 "Father, I place my life in your hands!"
 Then he breathed his last.

When the captain there saw what happened, he honored God:
 "This man was innocent!
A good man, and innocent!"

All who had come around as spectators to watch the show, when they saw what actually happened,
were overcome with grief and headed home. Those who knew Jesus well, along with the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a respectful distance and kept vigil.

St. Luke 23:  44 - 49  (The Message)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I received this in an email recently.  I saved it and have been praying about posting it on my blog.  I have tried to be nice to the 'other' side, the supporters of Obama.  It doesn't work.  They don't want to be nice and have a real dialogue about the issues.  They want to call names and play the blame game.  Well, ENOUGH!  I am done!  I WILL SPEAK OUT!  If you don't like it, I suggest you not read this blog anymore because you won't enjoy it.


Dr. David Barton is more of a historian than a Biblical speaker, but very famous for his knowledge of

historical facts as well as Biblical truths.

Dr. David Barton --- on Obama

Respect the Office? Yes.

Respect the Man in the Office? No, I am sorry to say.

I have noted that many elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, called upon America to unite
behind Obama.

Well, I want to make it clear to all who will listen that I AM NOT uniting behind Obama !

I will respect the Office which he holds, and I will acknowledge his abilities as an orator and
wordsmith and pray for him, BUT that is it.

I have begun today to see what I can do to make sure that he is a one-term President !

Why am I doing this ?

It is because:

- I do not share Obama's vision or value system for America ;
- I do not share his Abortion beliefs;
- I do not share his radical Marxist's concept of re-distributing wealth;
- I do not share his stated views on raising taxes on those who make $150,000+ (the ceiling has been
changed three times since August);
- I do not share his view that America is Arrogant;
- I do not share his view that America is not a Christian Nation;
- I do not share his view that the military should be reduced by 25%;
- I do not share his view of amnesty and giving more to illegals than our American Citizens who need help;
- I do not share his views on homosexuality and his definition of marriage;
- I do not share his views that Radical Islam is our friend and Israel is our enemy who should give up any land;
- I do not share his spiritual beliefs (at least the ones he has made public);
- I do not share his beliefs on how to re-work the healthcare system in America ;
- I do not share his Strategic views of the Middle East ; and
- I certainly do not share his plan to sit down with terrorist regimes such as Iran ...

Bottom line: my America is vastly different from Obama's, and I have a higher obligation to my Country and my GOD to do what is Right !

For eight (8) years, the Liberals in our Society, led by numerous entertainers who would have no platform and no real credibility but for their celebrity status, have attacked President Bush, his family, and his spiritual
beliefs !

They have not moved toward the center in their beliefs and their philosophies, and they never came together nor compromised their personal beliefs for the betterment of our Country !

They have portrayed my America as a land where everything is tolerated except being intolerant !

They have been a vocal and irreverent minority for years !

They have mocked and attacked the very core values so important to the founding and growth of our Country !

They have made every effort to remove the name of GOD or Jesus Christ from our Society !

They have challenged capital punishment, the right to bear firearms, and the most basic principles of our criminal code !

They have attacked one of the most fundamental of all Freedoms, the right of free speech !

Unite behind Obama? Never ! ! !

I am sure many of you who read this think that I am going overboard, but I refuse to retreat one more inch in
favor of those whom I believe are the embodiment of Evil!

PRESIDENT BUSH made many mistakes during his Presidency, and I am not sure how history will judge him. However, I believe that he weighed his decisions in light of the long established Judeo-Christian principles of our Founding Fathers!!!

Majority rules in America , and I will honor the concept; however, I will fight with all of my power to be a voice in opposition to Obama and his "goals for America ."

I am going to be a thorn in the side of those who, if left unchecked, will destroy our Country ! ! Any more
compromise is more defeat !

I pray that the results of this election will wake up many who have sat on the sidelines and allowed the
Socialist-Marxist anti-GOD crowd to slowly change so much of what has been good in America !

"Error of Opinion may be tolerated where Reason is left free to combat it." - Thomas Jefferson

"If we ever forget that we're one nation under GOD, then we will be a nation gone under." - Ronald Reagan


In GOD We Trust!

God bless you and GOD BLESS AMERICA!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010



In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought I might share a few jokes with you.  Since I'm of Scotch-Irish ancestry, I think I can safely say laughing at one's self is healthy!  Also, not all Irish are either drinkers or Catholic, but we're all loveable!!!!! 



Paddy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking place.   Looking up to heaven he said, "Lord take pity on me.   If you find me a parking place I will go to Mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me Irish Whiskey too."

Miraculously, a parking place appeared.

Paddy looked up again and said, "Never mind, I found one."

Father Murphy walks into a pub in Donegal, and asks the first man he meets,  "Do you want to go to heaven?"

The man said, "I do, Father."

The priest said, "Then stand over there against the wall."

Then the priest asked the second man, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

"Certainly, Father", the man replied...

"Then stand over there against the wall", said the priest.

Then Father Murphy walked up to O'Toole and asked, "Do you want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "No, I don't Father."

The priest said, "I don't believe this.   You mean to tell me that when you die you don't want to go to heaven?"

O'Toole said, "Oh, when I die, yes.   I thought you were getting a group together to go right now!"

Paddy was in  New York. He was patiently waiting and watching the traffic cop on a busy street crossing.   The cop stopped the flow of traffic and shouted, "Okay, pedestrians..." Then he'd allow the traffic to pass.

He'd done this several times, and Paddy still stood on the sidewalk.

After the cop had shouted, "Pedestrians!" for the tenth time, Paddy went over to him and said, "Is it not about time ye let the Catholics across?"

Gallagher opened the morning newspaper and was dumbfounded to read in the obituary column that he had died.   He quickly phoned his best friend, Finney.

"Did you see the paper?" asked Gallagher. "They say I died!!"

"Yes, I saw it!" replied Finney.   "Where are ye callin from?"

An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding in Connecticut .  The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car.

He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water", says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"

Walking into the bar, Mike said to Charlie the bartender, "Pour me a stiff one - just had another fight with the little woman."

"Oh yeah?" said Charlie, "And how did this one end?"

"When it was over", Mike replied, "She came to me on her hands and knees."

"Really", said Charlie, "Now that's a switch!   What did she say?"

"She said, 'Come out from under the bed, you little chicken,'"

David staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking buddy, Paddy.   He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Kathleen.

He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step.   As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump.   A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.

Managing not to yell, David sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding.   He managed to quietly find a full box of Band-Aids and began putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood..

He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and stumbled his way to bed.

In the morning, David woke up with searing pain in both his head and butt and Kathleen staring at him from across the room.

She said, "You were drunk again last night weren't you?"

David said, "Why you say such a mean thing?"

"Well", Kathleen said, "it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but mostly ....... it's all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror."

A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

Proverbs 17:22 (The Message)

Monday, March 15, 2010


The following are pictures of the same place taken at different seasons.

The clear, cool waters of Spring drift down the river as the green trees linger over the waters and life abounds.  Who can pass by without dipping their toes into the water and giggling as it tickles the toes?!

Such are the young days of our lives; everything feels new and bright and wonderful.  We giggle easily, we find beauty in the smallest of things.  We are held in awe at the sight of butterflies as they twitter about among the fresh flowers of the field.  We are young and we only see what lies immediately before us.  We have little responsibility but to enjoy being alive.  We may marry and even have young children in this stage of our lives.  We are in rapt attention for every change that occurs, every smile on our babies' faces, every sweet word spoken by our beloved.  It is a time of pure joy.

The 'dog days' of Summer have now settled in.  It's hard work making it through the summer, the waters thicken with the algae.  What once looked so inviting and cool, now looks foreboding and dirty.  One takes a quick glance and turns away, not seeing the beauty that still lies in the green forest because we don't want to look at the murky waters of the river.

The summer of our lives comes when those responsibilities we once took for granted begin to weigh heavy on us.  Our children are growing up.  We begin to think of college funds as we rush from one hectic day to the next.  We may feel as though our life is a bit of a drudge; too much to do, too much money is needed, too many commitments.  We lose ourselves in the 'algae' that has gathered over our lives.  We loose sight of the beauty that still lies within us and around us because we don't want to face the 'algae'.

Fall has now come to the river.  The water is clearer again, but not as clear or as tempting as in the Spring.  The trees have lost their leaves, the forest looks barren and uninviting.  It's as though the waters and the trees can sense the coming Winter.  Yet, even in this seemingly barren time, the beauty of the foliage pops at us in bright splashes and the green of those determined vines continues to call for our attention.

The Fall of our lives can seem like a lonely and dark time.  Our children may be grown and have now moved away to start families of their own.  Our parents may now be frail and need us more and more, or they may have gone Home to meet the Lord.  Our own health may begin to fail.  Our bodies weaken and we may feel as though we just aren't useful anymore. 

Yet, there in our lives are those 'pops' of joy in the faces of those we love, in the joy of worship with our chosen church family, in the peace of sitting quietly with our beloved.  Those green spaces are still determined to give us hope and joy in these times of our life.  God smiles on us and reminds us of His love for us and of all He has blesssed us with. 

Perhaps this is the time of our life that our beloved is taken to Glory.  We feel the barrenness of being alone and we may feel as though the 'pops' are gone forever from our lives.  The greens may be a bit subdued by the darkness of our grief.  Yet, if we look, we can still find the colors of joy even in the most barren and desolate times of our life.  We can look to the Winter with hope and peace when we know it is only the prelude to the Rebirth!

  Winter now drapes it's white blanket over the barren trees and it's chilly fingers carress the waters as they freeze in it's grasp.  Yet, the forest looks almost joyful for it knows what awaits at Winter's end....the Rebirth of Spring!

Awwww, the Winter!  What a joyful time winter should be in the life of a Christian!  Snow may be on the roof, or it may be bare; but what a lovely time when we know we will soon be going Home!  Our bodies may be worn out, but our spirits now shine with the wisdom of years of loving and serving our Lord.  We have suffered loss, we have walked the mountain tops, very little remains outside our realm of experience.  Yet, one thing awaits that causes us to look longingly for those dying days of that Winter season.  We now yearn for the day when our Rebirth will occur; that day when Jesus will call our name and we will be taken to Heaven to abide with Him forevermore!

I am in what I would describe as the mid-Fall of my life.  I thought there just wasn't much left for me to enjoy when my husband was called Home.  For the most part, I spent the last year thinking only of rushing into and through my Winter so I too could go Home.

Now, I realize my Fall is still in full aray.  The joy remains though now tempered with the grief of such a painful loss.  Just as steel is tempered to make it stronger, I feel I have now come out of the darkness of my grief a stronger Christian and now ready to face the remaining seasons of my life with joy and anticipation for where the Lord will take me and what He will have me do.

My winter has not yet come and I no longer yearn for it to quicken it's arrival.  When the times comes, I am ready to see my Jesus and my loved ones again.  Until then, I will serve the Lord with gladness in the place He has planted me.

My Earthly Home
Lessons on Life

You cannot judge a tree, or a person, by only one season.
The essence of who they are and the pleasure, joy, and love that come
from that life can only be measured at the end, when all the seasons are up.


Don't let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest.
Don't judge life by one difficult season.

When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.

                                             Psalms 73:  21 - 28  (NIV)