Friday, November 11, 2011

Honor and Duty

Today, November 11, is set aside to pay tribute to those valiant Americans who have served their country in times of war.  In my family, the military is an honored tradition.  I have chosen to honor here only those family members whom I have known personally.  Many have served whom I did not know personally. 

To every man or woman who has served our country, I offer heartfelt appreciation for your sacrifice.  Our country can only remain great as long as there are men and women who are willing to make the sacrifices you have made.  Thank you for showing us the way to patriotism and honor by your commitment and service.

All gave some...........some gave all........may we never forget.

Ralph Fentress Newland
11 Jun 1915 - 13 Feb 1998
European Theater, World War II
The Battle of the Bulge
U.S. Army

Uncle Buster was how I knew this quiet man.  He never spoke of his service.  By research, I discovered he fought in the Battle of the Bulge and received many honors for his gallantry and sacrifice in the face of extreme danger.  I will never forget Uncle Buster or the way he quietly went about his every day life. 

After returning from Europe, he married and moved to Flint, MI.  There he became a plumbers apprentice and earned entry into the union.  He worked there until his retirement.  Upon retirement, he and Aunt Mayena moved back to Tennessee, where both lived out the remainder of their lives. 

Van Patterson McDonald
4 Nov 1932 - 20 Sept 2011
Sharp Shooter Team Leader
Post-Korean War Era
U.S. Army
 This is my Daddy.  I honestly never knew how proud he was of his service to our country or how much he valued it until the very last days of his life.  Prior to being called home, Daddy made very specific requests regarding how his Memorial Flag should be cared for and respected.  He was buried with military honors.  I have never felt quite so honored as when the soldier placed that flag in my hands at the graveside ceremony.  It is a moment in my life I will never forget.

Daddy led a sharp shooter team (now known as sniper squads) in Germany and was offered a promotion to Sergeant and an entire squadron if he would re-enlist.  He chose not to do so and return home to Tennessee and the farm where his family lived.  He was notified of possible deployment to South Vietnam in February of 1957.  He and Momma had planned to marry that month, but delayed their wedding until they knew if he would be deployed.  They waited until March with no definite word from the military.  They decided to go ahead with the wedding.  Thankfully, he was never deployed.

Brian Keith Eppers
19 Mary 1980 -
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. Army

Brian (my nephew-in-love) enlisted in the Army after 9/11 with full knowledge that he would be deployed.  He trained as a Medic and was deployed to Iraq in early 2005.  He spent nearly a year there and returned home just before Christmas in December of that year. 

I will never forget the look on his face, or that of his children, as they saw him for the first time when he returned home.  Pure joy and absolute love shone from the face of Brian, my niece Katie and their children Alix and Jaden, as the kids ran across the parking lot to see their Daddy for the first time in almost a year. 

Brian continues to serve with the U.S. Army as a Medical NCO, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Civil Support Team member.  To say we are proud of him is a gross understatement.

Caleb McDonald Watkins
6 Mar 1991 -
Military Police
U.S. Army
TN Army National Guard
 This dashing young man is my youngest nephew.  He graduated from the U.S. Army AIT training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO on Oct 20 of this year.  He is now an official member of the TN Army National Guard as a Military Policeman. 

What roads lie ahead for Caleb, we do not know.  He has so many plans for his future, realizing that the Army has first claim on his time and commitment.  I cannot tell you how proud we were to stand in that auditorium and see him walk across that stage to receive the Top Gun award for his entire platoon! 

Where he will go from here, only God knows.  I have every confidence he will make his mark in this world; a mark for his God and his country.

Endure suffering along with me,
as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life,
for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.

2 Timothy 2: 3-4

Friday, November 4, 2011

His First Birthday in Heaven

Daddy and Momma
March 23, 1997
40-yr. Vow Renewal Ceremony
Brints Chapel Baptist Church

It was a chilled and frosty November morning on November 4, 1932.  My Maw and Paw McDonald hadn't gotten much sleep the night prior.  Maw had labored hard to give birth to a bouncing, healthy baby boy during the wee hours of the morning.  That baby boy was my Daddy, Van Patterson McDonald.  He always told us Maw named him after a cowboy.  I was never sure just who that cowboy was, but it brought Daddy happiness to tell the story and that is all that mattered to me.

Daddy was the second of four sons born to Maw and Paw.  His older brother, Troy, was born on Feb. 8, 1931 and had lived for less than 24 hours.  When Maw found herself pregnant again almost exactly one year later, she was thrilled.  When Daddy was born healthy, she was beyond thankful and joyful to have her child growing and happy.

By the time Daddy turned 10, Paw had bought the farm where Daddy would spend the remainder of his days.  His only time away from the farm was the 2 years he was in the Army from 1953-1955.  He loved the farm and farm life.  It was his dream to own his own land, grow crops and animals and a family.  His dream never materialized as he would have wanted, but he did live it in a small way.

A couple of years after he and Momma married, they moved in to a small 4 room house Daddy and Paw had built on the farm and they started to raise a family, cows, pigs and a couple of horses and some chickens.  He didn't have crops because there was no time for crops after tending to his animals and working at his factory job.  He had a large vegetable garden and a truck patch and that was enough to satisfy him.

The years passed and his family grew and came to include sons-in-love and eventually grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When Momma was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her heath began to fail, Daddy gave up everything he enjoyed to devote himself completely to caring for Momma.  He sold his cows and stopped growing his vegetables when it became evident that Momma needed him to be by her side almost 24 hours a day.

He was completely devoted to Momma and rarely left her side.  His own health began to decline, but he remained vigilant at Mommas side.  He let us come in and help with household chores and drive Momma to her doctor's appointments.  I don't think we really understood then why he did that.   We came to understand that those times were the only time he had to restore himself and have time for a break.

When Momma went home to be with Jesus in April, 2006, Daddy was devastated.  He stayed at their home for the remainder of that year, but became sicker with each passing month.  His doctor became concerned that he would die soon if he didn't find a way to overcome the grief.  He moved from their home to live with my middle sister and her family for about the next year.

My youngest sister and her husband bought the family farm in 2008 and Daddy moved back to the house to live with them.  They both had health issues and he would spend time with my other sister while health issues were attended to.  I was living with my mother-in-love and then was taking care of my terminally ill husband.  My husband went home to be with Jesus in January, 2009.  For the first year, I was in no shape to care for myself, much less anyone else.

In March, 2010, I finally came back to my own home to live.  Daddy came to live with me in June, 2010 and remained with me until the morning he went to be with Jesus on Sept. 20, 2011.  It was my joy to take care of him and have him with me for those last 15 months of his life.  I will be forever thankful to have had the opportunity to give back to him a small portion of the caring he had given me since the day of my birth.

So, today Daddy would have been 79.  What joy to know he now walks the streets of heaven with our Lord, Momma and our baby sister, as well as other loved ones who have already gone home with the Lord. 

Happy Birthday in Heaven Daddy.  I love you so much more than I ever realized while you were here with me.  I am so thankful God made you my Daddy and for the love you gave me all the days of your life after I came into it.  I am thankful you are at rest and no longer sick and suffering.  You are now eternally well and at peace.  Praise the Lord!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pride and Prejudice.....

The Grands, 1992
Jared, Caleb, Katie, Adam and Jacob
See that little blond haired boy sitting on his sister's lap?  That is my youngest nephew, Caleb.  This was taken during the summer of 1992 when Caleb was just over one year old.  His Momma hadn't yet been able to cut his curls.  He was our last baby and we all wanted to keep that 'baby' appearance for as long as possible!

Caleb has always been his own person; never like his brothers or his sister, quite unique.  He could entertain himself for hours since a very early age. He's always had an intense interest in what was happening around him, noticing details that would escape others of his age or even a few years older.

During his 'middle years', Caleb struggled with his weight.  He turned 18 and suddenly had focus and determination none of us knew was there.  He decided he was going to get his weight down and immediately went to work doing so.  He ran every day, he ate well, he had discipline I must admit I not only admired, but sometimes was a bit envious of.

About this same time, he decided he would join the military in some manner and did so.  He came home to announce he had signed his papers and was enlisted with the Army Guard.  He would be leaving for Basic Training that summer.  We were so very proud of him, while being apprehensive about his decision and what the possible consequences could be.

He made plans to enter the ROTC with a long range goal of working for either the Secret Service or some branch of national security.  Suddenly the boy had become a man right before our eyes.  He had always been responsible beyond his years, but we were now in awe of his decisiveness.  Basic Training came and went and some of his plans didn't pan out as planned.  He dealt with the disappointment and moved forward.

AIT was scheduled for the next summer and he moved forward.  Time for the AIT training approached and he began again to get into that 'military' mindset.  He left for Ft. Leonard Wood and we waited for the day for graduation.  That day came on Oct. 20.

His Mom, Dad and I travelled to Missouri with our hearts bursting with pride.  Family Day was wonderful.  He had excelled in his AIT and was graduating with honors in marksmanship.  Well, of course he was!  Graduation Day dawned and we were there an hour before we could go in!  Finally, we found our seats and waited for the joy to become reality.

As we waited, we felt our hearts grow with appreciation not only for our soldier, but for every young man and young woman there.  What a joy to see them so disciplined and proud to be serving their country!  Caleb's time to walk across the stage came.  His name was called and he strode purposefully across the stage to accept his award as the Top Gun for his entire platoon!  Our little boy had now become a man and had out performed every other man and woman in his platoon, including the Drill Sergeants!

Talk about proud!  I don't know about his Mom and Dad, but his Aunt Di cried and laughed and praised the Lord as she watched that little boy who was now a man march across that stage!  I filmed video while his Mom snapped pictures and his Dad just sat back and allowed us to be the women we are! 

Last Thursday, Caleb accompanied me on a trip to Nashville for a doctor's appointment.  We stopped at a little quick stop for a snack and a potty break.  As I stood at the counter paying for my banana nut muffin and my Coke, I caught a glimpse of Caleb standing nearby quietly observing the surroundings.  There he stood, strong and straight, with his arms relaxed and hands clasped before him.  He quietly looked back and forth around the business.

I cannot express with words the pride in my heart as I saw him there.  Men and women were coming and going and each took their turn in glancing at him.  Some walked a bit faster as they neared him, some walked a bit straighter, some smiled with that pride one feels when they know they are in the presence of a person who is trained to defend their country.

Yes, our little boy was now a man.  How thankful am I that I have been allowed to be a part of his life and that he is in my life.  I am proud of you Caleb.  I am proud of the pride you have in serving your country, of the dedication you have shown to every aspect of your life; but more than all of these, I am proud that you love the Lord Jesus and serve Him with the same dedication, pride and faithfulness you have shown to your military commitment.

I love you my nephew; I always have and I always will.

AIT Graduation
Oct. 20, 2011
Ft. Leonard Wood, MO

Friday, September 30, 2011

My hubby, Terry
October 2002
California Redwood National Forest
2 years after his accident

I'm not really sure why, but for the past couple of months I've been spending a lot of my quiet time reflecting on the days following my husband's auto accident on April 13, 2000.

He had a multitude of injuries, both internally and externally. the most debilitating of which was a bi-lateral acetabular fracture.  The acetabulum is the area of the pelvic bone where the ball of the femur fits.  Both sides of his pelvis were broken numerous times.  He was placed in bi-lateral traction in order to keep his joints in proper alignment while the doctors decided what route to take in attempting to repair his injuries.

After the initial week, I was told his injuries were most likely not life threatening but that he most likely would never walk again.  I was so thankful to know that he would live that I completely ignored the news regarding his ability to walk.  On day 12 of his stay in TICU, a decision was made to attempt surgical repair of the left acetabulum, which was successful.  The right side, however, was much like a jigsaw puzzle with too many pieces to be manually repaired.  He would remain flat of his back and in traction on the right side for the next 3 1/2 months.

After being flat of his back for so long, his body had to relearn how to keep his blood pressure up when he sat upright.  His sense of direction was gone and he had to be retaught how to orient himself from a lying to a sitting position.  After those things were accomplished, he was finally able to try to stand.  If he could accomplish standing and taking even 3 steps, he would be moved to inpatient rehab to see how far he could go.  We were reminded that the ability to walk was most likely not attainable.

After several days of being raised to a standing position on a tilt table, he felt he was able to try to take a step.  As they stood him up, I watched in anguish as I saw the tears roll down his face and his grimace as the pain racked his body.  He would grit his teeth and refuse to give up.  It took a weeks worth of trying several times daily, but he did finally accomplish 5 steps with a lot of help from a team of physical therapists.

We were told we would be moving upstairs to the long term inpatient rehab unit over the following weekend.  Monday brought a new day with new goals and so much suffering I was afraid the pain alone would kill him.  When he stood for the first time at the parallel bars, the PT encouraged him to take only 5-6 steps.  He said "No, I'll walk the full length before I leave this room today".  I don't remember how many steps it was, but I remember the pain and suffering reflected on his face as he took each one. 

As I stood at the opposite end of the bars, he would look me in the face and say "Greater is He than is in me" and push forward.  If he became tired again or if the pain became unbearable, he would say "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me".  It seemed like hours but he finally made it to me and his wheelchair.  He turned himself and collapsed into his chair as we both sobbed.  The entire room was cheering him on...PTs, patients, family members of other patients, everyone was cheering him on!

His PT ran to him and fell to the floor embracing me and him as we all cried together.  She told me to take him back to his room and give him a good hot shower and pain meds would be ordered and ready for him.  He spoke up immediately and said "No, I'm gonna walk back" and instructed me to take the chair back to the other end of the bars.  I did so as the PT begged him not to try it.  He would have none of it.

Again, with so much pain on his face that I feared a heart attack brought on by the pain, he made each step and quoted scriptures as he went.  He had a sciatic nerve injury which left him unable to lift his left leg.  He didn't yet have his brace, so he made that walk to and fro on the bars while dragging his left leg and physically planting it before each new step.

As I watched him, I was so acutely aware of some things:
1.  He was taking every step for me;
2.  Suffering is a motivator if you have the right attitude;
3.  The Lord is bigger than any struggle we face or any pain we may feel; and
4.  If anyone COULD walk again, it was going to be my husband!

Now that he has been at rest with our Lord for 32 months, I reflect on those lessons and realize just how true those observations were.  Terry didn't bring a wheelchair home, he walked into our front door with the assistance of a walker, which he soon traded for a cane and eventually was able to walk without an assistive device at most times. 

While I stood by his side and suffered every step of the way with him, the Lord was always there.  He held us up through our family and friends and sometimes even strangers.

Terry's suffering motivated me to love him more and to appreciate him more.  It motivated each of us to love our Lord more, to grow to know Him more intimately, to depend on Him for our every need.

And finally, yes Terry took every step for me.  Numerous times over the years, he said to me "Di, I would have quit if I hadn't known I had you.  I would have just lay in that bed and given up.  You are the reason I worked so hard.  Every day I asked the Lord to help me because I had to do it for you".

Do you know anyone who is suffering?  Keep in mind that suffering can be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual.  Perhaps what they need in order to overcome is someone to walk alongside them and give them a motivation to move forward.  A brief visit to a hospital bedside, a card in the mail to encourage and uplift, a visit to pray with someone, a phone call to say "I'm coming over if that's ok with you.  What can I bring"?  Encouragement is so simple yet may mean the difference between someone giving up or moving forward.

Precious Father, please help me be a light of encouragement to all I see.  Help me be sensitive to your guidance as I meet the suffering day by day.  Allow me to be your instrument in bringing peace into lives of chaos.  In Jesus name......................AMEN.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Daddy's Home!

Van Patterson McDonald
Nov. 4, 1932 - Sept. 20, 2011

One week ago my family and I said "See you later" to my Daddy.  He had suffered for many years with C.O.P.D. and had become very ill.  He had been in Hospice care since this past January.  We knew the time was soon, but it always seems to come before we are prepared.

Daddy's home going was so peaceful.  There was no gasping for breathe, not even very labored breathing.  He was peaceful right up until his last breath.  We had been so concerned about the time of his dying because the doctors had been very straight-forward about how hard the dying could be for someone with his illness.  We prayed that he would not suffer.  God answered our prayers and Daddy suffered very little as he left his mortal body behind and crossed into his eternal rest with the Lord.

As we stood at his bedside, we were sad; but more than that, we were happy for him because he now sits at the feet of our Lord and has joined Momma and our baby sister, as well as other family members who have gone on before him.  Perfect peace entered the room the minute the Lord came for him.  What a blessing to have been witness to that moment.

He was a precious Daddy, a loving husband to my Momma until the day she went home, a caring brother and a courageous saint who was dearly loved by his church.  He left a legacy of love for the Lord and his family.  We will miss him in the days that lie ahead, but we eagerly await that day when we will see him again. 

One of the most precious memories of this time will be my little 4 year old grand-niece who asked repeatedly to lie beside Papaw Mac in his bed.  We would lay her beside Daddy.  She would lay her head on his chest and reach her little arms up and around his neck and kiss his face.  She would say "I love you, Papaw Mac".  Even at the funeral home, she could not be calmed until she had kissed his face and told him she loved him.

Our entire family was in and out during the weekend prior to his passing.  We all spent time at his bedside and treasured the blessing of being there.  His youngest grandson is in AIT in Ft. Leonard Wood, MO and could not get leave to come home for the funeral.  His heart was broken and our hearts were broken for him.

We are now back to our 'normal life', whatever that is.  We move forward knowing Daddy is where his heart has longed to be since the day Momma left us.  He now can run up and down the streets of glory with as much air in his lungs when he stops as when he started.  That is precious to those of us who have witnessed his progressive illness taking him from us in small steps along the way.

We love you Daddy.  We will always miss you but we will see you again!

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Psalm 116:15  (KJV)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I've Got A Name.....

Jim Croce had a great song entitled "I've Got A Name" released the summer Terry and I met.  We both loved Jim Croce and his music.  From the first time I heard this song, I loved it.  A very dear lady used to say to me all the time "Diane, remember whose child you are".

Genealogy is important to me.  I enjoy history and love finding out where I came from.  I have always believed that we can't be who God really created us to be unless we know where we came from.  Now, for some the degree of that knowledge is less important than to others.  To me, the more I know the better I like it; even if the things I learn aren't necessarily good things.

I have spent time pondering that over the past few days.  I want to bring honor to my family name, to all the names attached to my family tree, and to those I inherited when I married Terry.  That is important to me.  When future generations read about me, I want them to be proud to know I am a part of their lineage.

I began to think about that in the context of my Christian walk.  Remember whose child you are.......what is my Christian lineage?  I particularly hate reading those parts of the Bible that says so-and-so begat so-and-so, and on and on, just seemingly mindless reading.  (See Matthew chapter 1)  Then, I began to try to concentrate on the names I was reading and who those people were. 

What is my Christian lineage?  I am a child of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe.  As God the Father, he has no lineage, yet as the Son, he has a very specific lineage.  "Of the house and lineage of David" (See Luke 2:4).  I've always loved the Christmas story, but often wonder if we really stop to think about the story.

I don't know about you, but David is one of those Old Testament heroes of the faith that I look forward to getting to meet face-to-face in heaven.  I want to know what made David tick; I want to hear him tell the story of facing Goliath in his own words.  I want to hear about the faith it took to do such a thing!

I often think of Rahab the harlot, who was the great-great grandmother of David and who is also in my Christian lineage.  What must it have felt like to be a woman of such station in life to have the God of the universe declare your faith as worthy?  Worthy not just for you, but those who follow in your lineage?  What a joy this woman must have felt to know that the Lord of Heaven had counted her faithful!

I think of Abraham and the faith it took to keep believing God when everything reasonable said His promise was never to be.  Of Sarah, when the years of childbearing were past and yet she continued to believe in the promise.  Yes, they wavered, who am I to judge?  I waver almost daily.  Yet, their faith was so strong that these thousands of years after their entrance into their reward, we continue to talk about their walk with God and to be encouraged by their story.

Then, I think of all those people who influenced my life as I was growing up.  Some were badly misled in their beliefs, but they served the Lord with a zeal none could question.  Did they make mistakes?  Certainly; who am I to judge, I make mistakes daily, sometimes minute by minute.

Yes, I've got a name....a name countless numbers have given their life to proclaim; a name given by a Savior who shed every drop of His precious blood in order to pay my sin debt.  My Christian lineage is marked with saints and sinners, those who loved God with their whole heart, who made mistakes, who sometimes wavered in their faith....yet, here we are, still believing in that same God and still willing to serve Him.  Those folks who came before us must have done something right, wouldn't you say?

As I think about it, that's the thing that impresses me the most.  They did SOMETHING right!  Jesus tells us that faith so small as a grain of mustard seed can remove the mountains that interject themselves into our path.  (See Matthew 17:20)

What are your mountains?  Hopelessness, anger, doubt, fear, a prodigal child, an unbelieving mate, an abusive person who stole your joy, a struggle with substance abuse that has you captive, a broken marriage, a church that has hurt you....the list could go on and on.

The important thing is not what your mountain is, rather who your faith is in.  A minute amount of faith placed in God the Father, the Creator of the universe and His Son, Jesus Christ can give you new life and new hope.  Will your problems be automatically solved?  No, but you will a have resource not yet tried.

You will have a name, a name passed down by generations of others who faced just such as you face and who remained faithful through every battle.  Your problems won't end, there will be no easy answers.  You will make mistakes, your faith may grow weak, trails will continue to come your way.  When those things beset you.....remember whose child you are and that you've got a name. desire and strive to be like Christ...I've got a name!

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

Phillippians 2: 5-11  (NLT)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

God's Sticky Notes................

"I tell you, love your enemies.
Help and give without expecting a return.
You'll never—I promise—regret it.
Live out this God-created identity
the way our Father lives toward us,
generously and graciously,
even when we're at our worst.
Our Father is kind; you be kind.

"Don't pick on people,
jump on their failures,
criticize their faults—
unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
Don't condemn those who are down;
that hardness can boomerang.
Be easy on people;
you'll find life a lot easier.
Give away your life;
you'll find life given back,
but not merely given back—
given back with bonus and blessing.
Giving, not getting, is the way.
Generosity begets generosity."

Luke 6: 36-38  (The Message)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thermometer Or Thermostat????

THERMOMETER-----An instrument for measuring and indicating temperature.

THERMOSTAT-----A device that automatically regulates temperature, or that activates a device when the temperature reaches a certain point.

Based upon those definitions, we can confidently say that a THERMOMETER is a device used to measure the environment surrounding it and a THERMOSTAT is a device which not only measures the environment, but activates something which will make proper adjustments to that environment based upon the settings that have been given it.

So, what are you?  Are you a THERMOMETER or a THERMOSTAT?  Do you measure your surroundings and then go about your business, or do you measure your surroundings and then set about doing something to change them based upon your 'settings' as a Christian?

"Simply put, if you're not willing
to take what is dearest to you,
whether plans or people,
and kiss it good-bye,
you can't be my disciple.

"Salt is excellent.
But if the salt goes flat,
it's useless, good for nothing.

"Are you listening to this?
Really listening?"

Luke 14: 33-35  (The Message)
Now, if I read this passage correctly, it tells me that I am of no use to the Lord, or to the advancement of His Kingdom, unless I am willing to forsake everything and give my life over completely to His control.  If I do that, I automatically become a THERMOSTAT because I have no choice but to do so. 
If I am to be a device of change, however, my will must be put under the submission of the will of the Lord.  Therein lies the problem.  I am so sure I can do it, I know what's best, I've got the answers, I've got "a plan" and surely God wants me to use my plan.  After all, He did give me a brain to think with and the ability to make plans and the desire to have direction in my life, right?
We go so far away from the Lord when we begin to think that our way is better than His way, or that we can even understand which "way" is right without submitting to Him.
Seek God while he's here to be found,
pray to him while he's close at hand.

Let the wicked abandon their way of life
and the evil their way of thinking.

Let them come back to God,
who is merciful,
come back to our God,
who is lavish with forgiveness.

"I don't think the way you think.
The way you work isn't the way I work."

God's Decree.

"For as the sky soars high above earth,
so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
and the way I think is beyond the way you think.

Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
and don't go back until they've watered the earth,

Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,

So will the words that come out of my mouth
not come back empty-handed.

They'll do the work I sent them to do,
they'll complete the assignment I gave them.'

Isiah 55: 6-11  (The Message)
We will never fully understand the ways of the Lord as long as we inhabit this mortal body; nor will we understand His thoughts.  Accepting that truth is essential to having peace about surrendering our will to His.  Just as we accept His love for us through faith, we must accept His omniscience....His infinite knowledge of us and all we think, do or feel.  Because He knows us so well, He knows the plans that will foster the greatest potential in His Kingdom.
Isn't that what you want from your life as a Christian?  Don't you desire to be and do the very best for the Lord?  Isn't that what our daily striving is all about?  Yet, the answers are there, within each of us who know Jesus Christ and we have only to surrender to Him in order to realize our greatest potential for Him.  It's really quite a simple and uncomplicated concept when you consider it.
In my own life, I have no problem with the concept; it's the practice of the concept that brings me difficulty.  Yet, when I surrender, there's no peace quite like the peace that fills my inmost being when I know I am surrendered to Him.  Isn't it so completely human to know that peace, yet rail against it over and over again in our daily walk with Him?

Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Luke 18: 16 & 17   (NLT)

Precious Father, once again I surrender myself to You, completely and wholly; all that I am, all that I think, all that I feel, all that I do.....these I surrender to You.  I want to be Your instrument of change in my world.  I want to bring comfort and hope to those who so desperately need it.  I know I can only accomplish that when I surrender to You and allow You to work through me.  Thank you for Your precious mercy and grace that allows me to come time and time again to present myself as Your servant.  Thank you for Your loving kindness that never turns me away nor reprimands me, but forgives me and draws me back into the fold of Your loving arms.  Help me to mirror You to everyone I meet, talk to or interact with in any manner.  In the precious Name of Jesus I ask these things..................AMEN.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Believe..................

"That life is more precious than money
will ever be able to be."

I've always said that I believe this statement to be true.  Yet, I must admit to the times in my life when I have fretted over wanting things I didn't have.  I've never been without what I needed, but I've often wished for things I wanted.  Momma used to call them our "need-cessities".  We had those things needful to sustain life.  I wonder sometimes if most people even understand the difference between what they need and what they want anymore?

I don't consider myself a rich person.  I have a modest income and my monthly bills are paid.  I can buy the food I need to nourish my body, plus some of the things I just want or enjoy.  I have clothes to keep me covered and warm, plus some of those shoes I drool over!  My car isn't new, but it's in good running order and paid for.  My house isn't grand, but it keeps me warm in the cold, cool in the heat, and dry in the rain.  And, it's almost paid for!  I can't take extended dream vacations, but I take getaway trips to relax and regroup almost any time I want.  All in all, when you stop to consider it, I'm much more wealthy than first thought.

Yet, with all that, the things that bring real joy to my heart can't be bought and sold.  No financial sacrifice could restore my husband's health once it was gone.  Heaps of money shoveled to various medical providers could not deliver me a baby when I so wanted one.  Even all the money saved and ear-marked for that adoption couldn't buy my health in order to make me feel dependable enough to care for a child.  When the people I love are hurting, mountains of money can't stop their pain.

My one hope, my sustenance, in all of that is the Lord.  Without Him, I would be hopeless and helpless.  I often find it ironic that we run about our little lives so desperate to make money, only to find that all that money can't give us the things we need or desire in order to live with quiet contentment and a peaceful countenance.

As I age and as disease takes more of me each day, I find strength and encouragement in the gold only Jesus Christ can give..........a quiet spirit, a contented heart, a peaceful soul and sure hope for the future.  Oh that each individual could but realize money is only paper, but Jesus is eternal LIFE!

"You say, ‘I am rich.
I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’
And you don’t realize that you are wretched
and miserable and poor and blind and naked.
So I advise you to buy gold from me—
gold that has been purified by fire.
Then you will be rich.
Also buy white garments from me
so you will not be shamed by your nakedness,
and ointment for your eyes
so you will be able to see.
I correct and discipline everyone I love.
So be diligent and turn from your indifference."

Revelation 3: 17-19   (NLT)

Friday, July 1, 2011


Jared Watkins with daughters Kayleigh and Allyson
Christmas 2010

Ten years ago today my family lived out a nightmare.  My second nephew, and the oldest son of my middle sister, Jared Watkins, was in an auto accident that left him comatose and clinging to life.  As each day dawned, it seemed the news only went from bad to worse.  The coma lingered and brain functions were dropping.  We were told the right and left hemispheres of his brain had been severed and that, if he lived, he would no longer be able to care for himself or ever be Jared again.

We prayed and tried to give support to my sister and BIL and to Jared's siblings in the best way we could.  People from so many places prayed with us and for us.  The days seemed to be never-ending.  Then, miraculously, Jared opened his eyes one day. Not long afterwards, he began to talk.  He wasn't the same Jared who entered the coma, he was more the Jared from many years prior.  He was child-like and couldn't remember several years of his more recent life.

Gradually, his memory returned and his body regained strength.  He was discharged home and began his life again.  I wish I could say there was some sort of great epiphany that changed his life completely after that, but it didn't happen that way.  He returned to many of the same activities that had landed him in the coma.  However, he was spared and for that we are eternally grateful.  Like many people, Jared is a rebel to his core.  He now has two beautiful daughters who adore him and whom he loves most dearly.

Thank you, precious Father, for allowing us to have Jared for these added ten years.  He has a good heart and honorable dreams.  Unfortunately, he hasn't yet learned that the answer to his questions lie in You and the source of his dreams should lie in You.  Thank you for dealing so tenderly with his heart.  I earnestly pray he will someday see You for who You really are and see the love You have for him and submit his will to Your Will.

I love you Jared, with my whole heart.  I am so thankful to have you still be with us so we can tell you how much we love you, hear your voice, the sound of your laughter and even the frustration and anger that so often erupts from within you.  You are a workmanship of the Lord, still in progress.  I am eager to see what He will reveal in you in His time.

Now God has us where he wants us,
with all the time in this world and the next
to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
Saving is all his idea, and all his work.
All we do is trust him enough to let him do it.
It's God's gift from start to finish!
We don't play the major role.
If we did, we'd probably go around bragging
that we'd done the whole thing!
No, we neither make nor save ourselves.
God does both the making and saving.
He creates each of us by Christ Jesus
to join him in the work he does,
the good work he has gotten ready for us to do,
work we had better be doing.

Ephesians 2: 7-10   (The Message)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


June 30 is a bittersweet day for me.  On this date, one of the most important men in my life was called home and one of the most important men I would never meet was born.

Bob Chandler with his only child, Terry.
March 1957

James Elton (Bob) Chandler was born on June 30, 1923, the only son of his parents and the much loved brother of three sisters.  He would later marry Gladys Arlene Shearon and the couple would have one child, a son, Terry Elton Chandler.  Terry was my husband and center of my world.

Like most little boys, Terry idolized his Daddy.  Bob was a dump truck driver for the Tennessee Dept. of Safety.  Terry often spoke of memories of his Dad leaving before daylight on icy, cold winter mornings so he could run the salt truck over the roads before everyone was out and about.  Terry had his toy tractors, trucks and graders and spent his play time building 'roads' all over the little hillside in their front yard.  He wanted to be just like his Daddy.

Unfortunately, those little boy memories are all he had of his Daddy.  Bob was killed in a auto accident on August 5, 1963.  Terry was only 9 years old.  Obviously, I never met Bob but he was one of the most important men to ever become a part of my life.  Without his existence, I could have never known Terry. 

I am quite sure Bob went to his grave never truly understanding what an exceptional son he had.  Thank you, Bob, for teaching your son in the few short years you had with him.  He was a wonderful man; full of laughter with a warm heart and compassion for others.  I have no idea what you were like, but I would like to think Terry took those traits from his Daddy.

The Herbert McDonald Family
February 1965
(L-R)  Herbert (Paw), David, Horace, Van (my Daddy) and Ilene (Maw)

June 30, 1966 was one of the most sad and difficult days of my life to that point.  It was the day my Paw McDonald was called home.   James Herbert McDonald was born on December 18, 1908, only months after his Dad had died of TB.  He had an older sister who was only 2 when he was born.  His Momma raised him and his sister on her own, doing whatever she could find to do in order to support herself and her children.

 I loved my Paw McDonald.  I was the apple of his eye and I knew it.  If I wanted it and it was in his power to give it to me, it was mine!  We used to sit together in his rocker and watch TV or just talk or eat.  He would perch me on his lap and tickle me, or wedge me in beside him as we shared a bowl of popcorn and watched TV.

He was always laughing and picking on me or my sisters.  He took my side no matter what; I always knew Paw would stand up for me.  I once picked up the plug from an extension cord that had somehow ended up in the yard.  It was wet with dew.  I hid it and went into the back bedroom and shoved it into the outlet with the bare wires pushed into the palm of my hand.

Well, of course, the power knocked me across the room and scared me witless!  Momma was immediately there, scolding me out of pure fear for what could have happened.  Paw came in, picked me up and cradled me in his arms.  He took me to 'our' chair and held me on his lap as I cried and Momma checked my hand over.

He rocked me for what seemed like hours afterwards, but was probably only minutes.  He asked Momma not to fuss at me and told her it was his fault because he should never have let the thing be in the grass!  As soon as I was feeling better, he announced that I had been a good girl and now we were going for ice cream!  He and Maw loaded me and my sisters into the pick up and off we went to the store for bought ice cream!  That was a real treat for us because we usually only had home made ice cream.  Isn't it funny how that changes as we grow older?! 

Seeing my Paw lifeless on their living room couch was one of the memories of my childhood that haunted me for years into my adult life.  Paw didn't have an easy life.  His own Dad died before he was born. He went to work by age 12 to help support himself, his Momma and his sister.  He walked 12-15 miles every Sunday afternoon to sleep in the back room of a paper plant, where he would work Monday through Friday, then walk back home again on Friday night so he could give his pay to his Momma and help on the farm on Saturday and Sunday.

He loved his family in the only way he understood...he worked hard and made sure they always had everything they needed.  They didn't have all they wanted, but they never lacked for the things they needed.  When Daddy went to Germany, he held my Maw together while Daddy was so far from home.  A relative told me once that she and her family would most likely have starved had it not been for Uncle Herbert and Aunt Lean (what they called my Maw McDonald).  

Her husband had a lazy streak and wouldn't work.  Paw would help them and give them food he and Maw had raised.  He would quite literally whip his grown nephew in order to try to get him to go out and work to support his family.  He was eventually successful.  The nephew went North to work for Caterpillar and soon sent for his family.  They remained there and he was quite successful in providing a good life for his family.

He raised three sons of his own and taught them to work hard, respect others and provide for their families.  He wasn't a church going man, but held a belief in a God that created him and blessed him with all he had.  He loved to watch The Gospel Jubilee on Sunday morning; thought there was no one on this earth who could out sing Vestal Goodman!  Conversely, he absolutely thrilled at watching wrestling on Saturday afternoons!  I can still see him perched on the edge of his rocker and physically air fighting with his fists as he watched and rooted for his favorite wrestler.  Watching him was much more fun than the silly wrestling!

I will always miss Paw.  It has been 45 years and I was only 8, but my memories of him remain vivid in my mind's eye.  I can see his grin, hear his chuckle and the sound of his voice as he talked.  I would not be the person I am today had Paw not been a part of my life.

“Honor your father and mother.”
This is the first commandment with a promise:
If you honor your father and mother,
“things will go well for you,
and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger
by the way you treat them.
Rather, bring them up with the discipline
and instruction that comes from the Lord.

Ephesians 6: 2-4  (NLT)

Sunday, June 19, 2011


What a blessing it would be if
Dads could see themselves through the eyes of their children.

I don't know about you, but this is most certainly the view I had of my Daddy as a child.  As I aged, I learned he wasn't a superhero, not even close; he was something much better.  He was human and helped me learn that God loves me just the way I am.  He wasn't, and isn't, perfect but he gave it his best and that's all God asks or expects from any of us. 

November 2010

I love you Daddy.  Happy Father's Day!

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger
by the way you treat them.
Rather, bring them up with the discipline
and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

Ephesians 6:4 NLT

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

My Endless Love......

My heart is heavy today.....

Our Wedding Day

 On the evening of this day, 36 years ago, I married my best friend, my soul mate, My Endless Love.  He went to be with Jesus much sooner than either of us had every dared imagine.  I could not imagine my life without him.  It remains the single most difficult thing I have ever release him to our Lord, to allow our love to live into eternity.

I will never stop missing him or loving him.  It has been nearly 29 months since his home going and I still miss him so badly the pain is actually physical at times.  I long to see his face, his smile, to look into his eyes, to hear his voice and feel his gentle touch.  In my dreams he remains young and strong and ever with me.  I do not say I will never love again, but any other love will never compare to the love we shared.

Christmas 2000
Only 8 short months after the accident that changed our lives forever.

So, Happy Anniversary in heaven Terry. 

You will always be My Endless Love.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prayers Are Needed................

Connie & Dave
July 2010

I would like to ask each of you to remember a very precious sister in prayer today, tomorrow and in the days ahead. Connie and her soul mate, her dear husband, are facing a battle. Her precious husband, Dave, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Preliminary tests have shown the cancer to already have spread beyond the confines of the prostate. Just how much it has spread will not be fully known until after surgery. Dave is having surgery on Tuesday morning.

Please pray for Dave, Connie and their precious family as they face the days ahead. Pray for healing according the perfect will of the Lord, for strength and for wisdom for the medical personnel as they approach this ordeal. Connie just lost her Mom a couple of weeks ago and Dave lost his Dad just a few short months back. They have been through trials and have remained constant in their devotion to the Lord and to each other. It would bless my heart to know each of you are praying for them as they face this battle.

Are any of you in trouble? Then you should pray.
Are any of you happy? Then sing songs of praise.
Are any of you sick? Then send for the elders of the church
to pray over you. Ask them to anoint you with oil
in the name of the Lord.
The prayer offered by those who have faith
will make you well. The Lord will heal you...
...Pray for one another so that you might be healed.
The prayer of a godly person is powerful.
It makes things happen.
Elijah was just like us. He prayed hard that it wouldn't rain.
And it didn't rain on the land for three and a half years.
Then he prayed again. That time it rained.
And the earth produced its crops.

James 5: 13-18  (NIRV)

 Godly people cry out, and the Lord hears them.
He saves them from all of their troubles.
The Lord is close to those whose hearts have been broken.
He saves those whose spirits have been crushed.
Anyone who does what is right may have many troubles.
But the Lord saves him from all of them.

Psalm 34:17-19  (NIRV)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I Believe..............

"That the people you care about most in life
are taken from you much too soon."

Wow!  Amen to that one!  I'm pretty sure I've never heard someone say "Well, I loved him/her dearly, but I was sure ready to give them up."  We are never ready for those whom we love to leave us.  They may have been with us for many, many years, but we continue to desire their presence in our daily lives.  The more we love them, the more we dread the day of their parting.   And yet, part we must for life is a finite experience.  We are born and we die, that is the way it is.  I'm not at all certain that's the way God planned it from the beginning, but it is the way it must be due to our own failings.

I have sat quietly the bedside of so many loved ones as they approached that parting, some of whom I felt were surely prepared to meet the Lord; others whom I had grave questions about.  It is so much easier to face that parting when we can feel assured of the preparation our loved one has made with the Lord.  I've never felt greater pain than when I was unsure as to whether my loved one had made peace with the Lord.

Conversely, one the greatest joys I've ever known was to sit with my Momma as she approached her crossing with the calm assurance of one who has made that preparation and who has been serving the Lord for many years.  It was the same with my Maw McDonald, who had so wanted to go home for a good while before her crossing.

I sat with my husband as he approached his crossing.  I so did not want him to go, but I knew he was going and I knew he would be better off.  As difficult as it was, it was also a sacred moment when he made that final step into eternity.  My sisters and I stood at his bedside and allowed our pain to wash out in tears as we praised the Lord because one of His children was now at rest, never to suffer again.

I now sit watching my Daddy.  His body grows weaker every day; he slips a bit closer to his crossing with every breath he takes.  Those breaths now come more labored and he sleeps much of the time.  I see him giving way to that pull from beyond our sight.  Although it makes me sad, it also lifts my soul with joy.  He has suffered so much and been so lonely since Momma went home.  I understand that loneliness.  As much as I don't want to say goodbye, I know he will be so much better off.

So, I prepare myself for deaths next visit to my house.  I've walked this road before; it still is not easy.  So little of life is easy, but it is all so worth the effort.  To be able to give back just a small part of the sacrifice Daddy made for me has been such a precious and sweet experience to me.  Of course, there have been hard days, days when the frustration overshadowed the joy.  That is all a natural part of the 'letting go' process.  Overall, the joys have far outweighed the pain.

I feel it won't be long for Daddy and I pray I am right.  I don't want to see him suffer and I know the greatest healing of all is that crossing into eternal rest in the presence of our Lord.  So, I await deaths visit,not with joy, but with the hope of one who knows Jesus Christ and who knows there will be a reunion day after which Daddy and I will never be parted again.  Praise Jesus!

 Brothers and sisters, we want you to know
about those Christians who have died
so you will not be sad, as others who have no hope.
We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again.
So, because of him, God will raise with Jesus
those who have died.
What we tell you now is the Lord's own message.
We who are living when the Lord comes again
will not go before those who have already died.
The Lord himself will come down from heaven
with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel,
and with the trumpet call of God.
And those who have died believing in Christ will rise first.
After that, we who are still alive
will be gathered up with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
And we will be with the Lord forever.
So encourage each other with these words.

1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18

Friday, June 10, 2011

First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage.....

Brian K. Eppers & Katie Gwen Watkins Eppers
June 10, 2000

Eleven years ago on this date, the man of my niece's dreams took her to be his bride.  I have to tell you, I don't think either of them could have made a better choice!  They are both precious, loving people who have given each other opportunities to grow in ways each perhaps could not have known had they not been together.

Cutting the Groom's cake.

They were so young and so in love.  As Katie walked down the aisle on the arm of her Dad, Brian stood at the altar with tears streaming down his face.  I have never been so touched in my life as I was to see him so humble and so obviously in love with our Blonde Bombshell! 

It was obvious to me he would be my nephew early in their relationship.  Katie had allowed Brian to protect her, something she had never done with any other guy she had dated.  She had always been very independent.  When she allowed Brian to take over and drive the two of them from their campus in Texas during a winter storm for Christmas 1998, I knew he was the one.

Katie & Brian K-I-S-S-I-N-G under the tree!

 They have faced trials together.  Brain joined the military and trained to become an MP.  He was gone for the usual Basics, then for an additional period of training and was barely home when he was notified he would be deployed to Iraq.  Their youngest, Jaden, turned one in October 2003 while Brian was training and barely saw him until he returned home in December 2005 after his tour of duty in Iraq. 

They moved from Middle Tennessee to Mason City, IA and then back down to Des Moines, IA.  In the meantime, Brian changed his specialty from Medic to Medical NCO as a member of a Civil Support Team, Weapons of Mass Destruction with the Dept. of Homeland Security.  Katie has worked to gain her degree and has become the Leasing Agent for Highpointe Properties in Norwalk. 

Alix Joy, Brian, Katie & Jaden Isaac Eppers
May 2010

They now have two beautiful children, Alix and Jaden, and have a good life together.  Brian is continuing his education and working toward a degree in psychology.  They have weathered a health scare with their daughter and have grown even closer as a family and as a couple.  They serve together on the Praise & Worship team for their church, Crossroads Church, in Norwalk.

I pray they will have many, many wonderful years ahead of them.  I love them with my whole heart and know they love me.  What better can a person wish for than to know they are loved by those whom they love?!



Jesus replied,
"Haven't you read that in the beginning the Creator
'made them male and female'?—(Genesis 1:27)
He said,
'That's why a man will leave his father and mother
and be joined to his wife.
The two will become one.'—(Genesis 2:24)
They are no longer two, but one.
So a man must not separate what God has joined together."

Matthew 19: 4-6

"But suppose you don't want to serve him.
Then choose for yourselves right now whom you will serve.
You can choose the gods your people served
east of the Euphrates River.
Or you can choose the gods the Amorites serve.
After all, you are living in their land.
But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord."

Joshua 24: 15

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Surrender All....

"All to Jesus I surrender...."

As hard as I try, I am often such a failure at living what I teach!  On this past Sunday, my sister and I were asked to fill-in for our Sunday School teachers who were planning a trip out of town.  We both accepted the request joyfully and I looked forward to teaching with her. 

When I began to study the lesson, I admit to thinking it would be an easy lesson to teach.  It was all about how all we have, in any capacity, belongs to God from the beginning.  Whatever we give to Him is only being returned to it's original owner.  Whether it be our time, our energy, our talent, our resources, our steadfastness of all belonged to Him from the beginning.  It was gifted to us by Him.

I have believed that for so many years and have tried diligently practice it.  I admit to having faltered at times, but as a general rule, I have no trouble giving to the Lord.  Just let me say that that should have been my first warning.  When we think we are so secure and so dedicated to the Lord, we are sure to be put into a position to see just how true, or untrue, our perception is.

I sat down to pay some bills online on Sunday evening.  I gathered my bills, opened up my banking account on my laptop program and was ready to go.  Oh, but I had forgotten to retrieve my flash drive...the one that stored my account numbers, passwords, etc.  I went to the place I usually keep these only to find it was not there.  I looked everywhere I thought I might have put it, only to be disappointed at each stop.  I couldn't find it anywhere.

I began to panic.  You see, not only is my account information stored on that drive, so are picture files of several different occasions.  The most important was a file that contained the last pictures I ever took of Terry before he went home to be with Jesus.  My account information will be a pain to retrieve, but it can be done.  Other information contained on the drive, such as recipes and health care records, can also be retrieved.  Some of the photos have been copied to other files in other locations, but for the most part, those pictures only existed on that drive in that file.

I was heart broken .  I turned things upside down here several different times and still did not find the drive.  I called my sister and asked her to be praying about it.  She assured me she would do so and reminded me that the Lord gives us the desires of our heart. Every time I thought of it, I would become physically ill because of the pictures I lost. 

I continued to search all day Monday and Tuesday with no new discoveries.  Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, I posted to my online Sisters and asked them to pray as well.  They responded with assurances of prayer and reminded me, just as my sister had, that God gives us the desires of our heart.  I continued to search.

As I was searching, the Lord began to speak to my heart, gently reminding me of the Sunday School lesson.  I must confess I didn't want to be reminded of it, particularly at that moment in time.  I wouldn't say I was angry, just heart broken. 

As I stilled myself and got quiet with the Lord, I listened as He spoke words of comfort to my heart and wept as he passed images of Terry before my mind.  He reminded me that all was not lost, that He owned all that was contained on that drive.  He would deliver the memories of Terry that I needed to comfort me as I needed them.  I can depend on Him and I will NEVER lose Him!

I would be lying if I said it didn't still bother me, but it's not the burden on my heart that it was.  I relearned an old lesson, the secret is in surrender.  I cannot have peace unless I surrender everything I am and have to the Lord.  Nothing in my life is mine, it is on loan to me by the Creator God who loves me without beginning or end.  His love has no boundaries and is not hindered by my own doubts.  I am hindered when I doubt, but His love for me is not.

So, as I sit here typing, know that the Lord who gave His life's blood for me cares about everything that I care about.  When I hurt, He hurts.  The things that cause me pain and the pain I feel can be relieved and I can be comforted when I surrender all to Him.  What an amazing and awesome God we serve!

In the words of  the hymn "I Surrender All" penned by Judson W. Van DeVenter in 1896:

"All to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give.
I will ever love and trust Him, in His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to thee my precious Savior, I surrender all!"

In the words of Peter the Apostle from his first letter the churches of Asia Minor:

"So don't be proud. Put yourselves under God's mighty hand.
Then he will honor you at the right time.
Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you.
Control yourselves. Be on your guard.
Your enemy the devil is like a roaring lion.
He prowls around looking for someone
to chew up and swallow.
Stand up to him.
Stand firm in what you believe..."

1 Peter 5: 6 - 9a   (NIRV)