This is going to be an adventure. Several years ago I went Chavies, Kentucky on Appalachain Service Project. Chavies is in Perry County....but could easily have been Hazzard County....that is the home of Bo and Luke Duke and the General Lee....Uncle Jessie...and Roscoe P. Coltrain!.....but they were on vacation when I was in the area. Instead...I met Malcolm, a.k.a. June Bug. Our house was in Bonnyman and actually not bad...it was missing supports underneath it....but the house itself was nice....compared to some we worked on. Anyways....our group was working....when a local came to meet us, check out what we were doing, and offer his advice. The locals name was Malcolm. I never got his last name...mainly because I did not think he threw it. Malcolm lived next door to our family...he was a gentle soul...a few fries shy of a happy meal, simple, and happy. Our first day he came to offer us Barbie dolls. These dolls were some he and his momma had been collecting for a long time and now needed to move to make space in their house for his sebenteen year old son. BTW...I spelled it like he said it. He and his momma loved buying Barbie dolls at yard sales and flea markets....but now those days were over....junior needed a room to himself. Malcolm offered us bags and bags of dolls...which we took. They would provide some child with hours of delight....and then told us how you can tell if a Barbie doll is real....do you know? Come on...bet cha do....well...if you don't...I will impart this wisdom to you....according to Malcolm. "There are two shure fire ways of tellin' if a Barbie doll is the real thang. The first way is to pull the hair up on her neck and if she has U. S.of A. stamped on her neck....then she is a real Barbie doll.....but the best way...the very bestest way....is to pull her little panties down....and if she has Mattel stamped on her arse....then she is the real thing. I nearly died. Later on...he returned to us....with a prize for me....a rock. He then assured me that it was not just any rock....it was a special rock....and I saw the fossils in the rock....and the rock was a chunk of coal. About that time he grabbed my hand....and was pulling me out from under the house....to take me down on the crick bank to get some more....I dug my heals in....because I was hearing Deliverance's Dueling Banjos kick up. Needless to say...I did NOT go to the creek bank that day....or any other. News of the Barbie story spread through our work crews like wildfire and on Weds. our Senior Pastor, Don, came to visit us. We were eating supper when I felt the hair on the back of my neck being lifted up....and my pastor whispered laughingly to me...."just seeing if you are the real thing." Willie, another adult from the other side of the room shouted...."try the other way preacher." Ahhhhh Lawd....there was no hole big enough for me to crawl into....but I lived to work another day, we finished the house and were very proud of what we accomplished. I loved my time in Chavies/Bonnyman. Kentucky is a gorgeous place to visit. Being from the south...I understand that the south gets a lot of bad press from everyone....we are called slow, stupid, dumb, etc....but let me tell you something about southern....southern is a state of mind. No where on earth are you treated like you are in the south. Here, where you meet someone you are told to draw you up a chair, have a cold glass of tea, and chat a bit. I love living in the south...and would not have it any other way. Only in the south will we let someone we have never met spend the night in our house....just because they know a cousin...five times removed. Only in the south...will you hear music on porches in the evening, yes ma'am and no sir being said by all...old and young. Only in the south...does warm hospitality cover you like black velvet at a midnight ball. It is a smooth...soothing feeling. If you have never experienced it....you should. It will change your life forever. It did mine.
" I am a teacher! What I do and say are being absorbed by young minds who will echo these images across the ages. My lessons will be immortal, affecting people yet unborn, people I will never see or know. The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad. The pliable minds of tomorrow's leaders will be molded either artistically or grotesquely by what I do." Here's hoping I do a good job.
You know, "I wake up every morning determined both to change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning the day a little difficult." E. B. White
I want to die...thinking that I had the greatest ride of all...and it was all worth it. Every single day I walked into a classroom...was worth the pain, the tears, the fears, and the anger....but most of all....the compassion. We are all teachers of some sort....do your best!
Ok...In 7 more posts I will be celebrating my 200th post anniversary. May not sound like a big deal to you....but it is to me. It means that 200 times I have sat down and poured my heart and soul out for the world to see...and I think that deserves a prize of some sort. So I am looking for the perfect giveaway for Monday May 4th. I hope all my blogger friends will spread the word and everyone comes and reads my 200th post. I am working on something very profound. The giveaway will run from the 4th to the 6th and I will draw at 9 p.m. cst. I will post the winner immediately and get a snail mail address to send them their prize...keep watching this week for more info on the Amazing 200th blog post anniversary giveaway! Happy Monday!
Matthew 16:18-19, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
My pastor, Bill, talked about keys this morning in church....and I have never heard a sermon quite like this one. The thing that stood out the most to me was a story he told about a man....a no good person according to the town...named...George...Bill's his father and a set of keys. Bill's dad....believed in the character of people obviously and did not always believe what people said maliciously...anyway....George had a little problem with the bottle...but Bill's dad...went to him...and gave him a most important job....the most important job at the business...he was to be the keeper of the keys....his job was to open the doors before everyone got there....and lock them up after everyone left. In all the years that followed...he never let Bill's dad down. Someone had believed in him and entrusted him with the keys not just to a building....but to self-esteem and responsibility. When Bill's family left several years later...the last person they stopped to see was George....Bill's dad thanked him for his service...and told him the next man was counting on him too. How awesome a story was that? I was mesmerized by it and will probably never look at a key the same again. How many times have I given someone the keys they needed to achieve?
All the way to Waverly I thought about the many types of “keys” in the world. My personal favorite Keys are the little islands at the tip of Florida. I do so like those. There are also keys that are points of knowledge that open the understanding to science and mathematics. I am not so in love with those keys...science and math...not so much my thing. There are keys, or steps that must be taken, or procedures followed in order to make machinery work. There are keys that are used to unlock or lock a door or a gate. There are keys that are on musical instruments and on office equipment, and then there are keys that are used to turn something on or off. Keys abound around us that is for sure....
I guess one of my most memorable key moments was when I was handed the keys to the car for the very first time. Talk about a feeling of empowerment...that was the biggest rush of my life. I felt as though there was a birth of freedom and an instant increase in trust that was placed in me. For me, the teenager, this marked the beginning of a whole new kind of freedom. I was an adult and ready to take on the world. Now, I have to tell you....my first solo ride after I got my keys....went textbook perfect....BUT...my parking in the driveway left something to be desired. I was distracted by a boy I was liking...and turned my parent's car...right into our next door neighbor's chain link fence...talk about embarrassment. I got out of the car and handed my dad the keys....and my license....my freedom was short lived. He handed them back and said, "get it off the fence." I did...and it made a much more responsible person out of me. He, my earthly father, had given me a key to freedom and I soared.
Now that I have been a parent to three driving teens I have found myself on the other side of this scenario, I realized that my parents most likely did not feel that same sense of joy that I felt that day. They more than likely felt the sense of dread that I felt when I handed my son my car keys for the first time. When the phone call came telling me he had put my car in a ditch...I was nauseated. I hoped both he and the car were alright. I got there...and one of the little old ladies that had called me told me..."just remember momma, cars can be replaced...but 16 year old boys can't." I looked her in the eye and told her I had a 16 year old boy that was free to a good home. Funny...he lost some of his appeal to her then. I loved my son.
I had many more opportunity to hand over the keys to my car to my children over the years, and while I trusted them to do the right thing and take care of the vehicles that I loaned or gave to them, there was always that same sense of dread that arises when I saw them drive away. They never left my sight without a fervent prayer for their safety and for the return of a fully functional vehicle.
A key is simply a tool that can be either used or abused. It isn’t the key that is the problem; it is the person who possesses the key that determines how it is used. So today, Sunday....how do you use your keys? Do you use them to do good? Do you use them responsibly? Do you use them to achieve greatness? How do you use your key? Let me encourage you today to give others the keys they need to be responsible people and use your key well. Happy Sunday you guys!
In 1968 I joined a group called Vital Voices in America or VIVA. It was a turbulent time in America. Vietnam was raging and I had just lost a good friend. When I joined VIVA they sent me a stainless steel bracelet that I put on and have worn ever since. I began writing to his mom and dad as soon as I put on this special piece of jewelry and was fortunate enough to meet them once in Birmingham. Cmdr. William Tann Arnold became part of my daily life and now 41 years later I still wear the bracelet with pride. This man gave his life to keep me safe and for that I will always be eternally grateful.
This is not just appreciation for Cmdr Arnold though, I am grateful for every single military personnel who has fought and died so that I can live a life free from worry. After all these years I want to see all accounted for and until that day comes I will wear my bracelet with pride.
So, let me tell you a little bit about Cmdr. Arnold. He was 32 years old when he was shot down. He was an only son, brother to three sisters, did two tours of duty in Vietnam and was shot down. He was from West Allis, Wisconsin. I carried his picture around for over 30 years as if he were a part of my family....he wasn't. I never even met him...but he was a good man...and 12 years ago I retired the picture because it was very ratty looking. His face is burned into my memory. Of course...that face is of a 32 year old handsome navy pilot. Today he would be 73. I am sure there would be a huge difference.
On 18 November 1966, then-LCMDR William T. Arnold of Attack Squadron 22 embarked in the aircraft carrier USS CORAL SEA launched as the wingman in a section of A-4Cs to conduct a coastal weather reconnaissance mission. Arnold was flying A-4C Bureau Number 148496. The flight approached the North Vietnamese coast 15 to 20 miles south of Cap Mui Ron. The weather was overcast and was solid up to approximately 7,000 feet. Flying beneath the overcast approximately 7 miles from the coast, the flight leader determined that the cloud base was of sufficient height to effect a bombing maneuver. The flight leader completed his maneuver, staying beneath the overcast, and was turning east when he heard the transmission, "I'm in the clouds, coming down." The leader looked back, but did not see Arnold's aircraft. The flight leader called to Arnold but received no response. He saw no evidence of an ejection nor any debris which would indicate a crash. The Coral Sea conducted search and rescue efforts but without result. The flight leader believed that LCDR Arnold inadvertently entered the cloud deck, became disoriented, and crashed into the ocean while trying to recover. Even so, the possibility existed that LCDR Arnold had ejected from his aircraft and been captured, so he was classed as Missing in Action. He remained in this status until a Presumptive Finding of Death was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on 18 May 1978, almost 12 years after his loss. While the casualty database reflects William T. Arnold's end grade as Lieutenant Commander (O-4) as reported here, his family has advised that he received a final promotion to Commander (O-5). His remains have not been recovered. That last line is what makes my blood run cold. There was never an end. His family was never able to put it to rest. They never knew for sure what happened....only what was speculated. How very sad.
I have been to the Wall in Washington several times over the years. I visit his name every time I go, I touch where it is etched into the marble, I can feel the electricity run through my body, and no matter how hard I try....I find myself crying. Thank you Bill Arnold for giving your life up for me. I love this country and pledge allegiance to it daily because men like you gave me the freedom to do just that. I am truly proud to be an American. How sad it is that others are not.
This is me singing Dixie Man when we opened for George Jones at the Columbus Civic Center last weekend. It was an awesome experience. I wanted to share a couple of the pictures with you all.
Here is a shot Kat took of the whole band from up in the nose bleed section. The far left is Marsha Short on Mandolin, Amanda Brown on guitar, Robert Earl Lowry on Bass, Rebecca on vocals, Me on Vocals, and Stan Edwards on Dolbro/Violin. Oh what a night...I will never forget it. Now I want a tour bus. Hummm....I need to win the lottery. LOL! Happy Trails to you all.
My sweet friend Carla posted this challenge on FB and being the music person that I am had to pick up the gauntlet and run with hit. The rules are simple...Using only song names from ONE artist, cleverly answer these questions.
Pick Your Artist: The Eagles
Are you male or female: Witchy Woman
Describe yourself: Take it to the Limit
How do you feel about yourself: Learn to Be Still
Describe where you currently live: Seven Bridges Road
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Hotel California
Your best friend is: New Kid in Town
Your favorite color is: Tequila Sunrise
You know that: (I’ve Got to)Get Over It
What's the weather like: Good Day in Hell
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Spread Your Wings and Fly
What is life to you: Learn(ing)to Be Still
What is the best advice you have to give: (Here is the) Best of My Love
If you could change your name, what would it be: Desperado
Your favorite food is: (Anything from)The Sad Cafe
I am going to try something new. I am going to dedicate Tuesdays for Teachable Moments. You know the kind of moments that stand out, make an impact, or just are profound. Today's Teachable Moment is a quote that a former student gave me when she graduated from Grad School with a degree in Education. I was very proud of her. I don't know who wrote this quote but it made an impact in my life.
"A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, the kind of car I drove. But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a CHILD!
When I chose to teach I knew I would never be rich in money....but I have always been rich in the fact that I touch students lives daily. I took the road less traveled and it has made a big difference.
I cannot believe it. I am still pinching myself. I went to Walmart today....and no..that is not why I am pinching myself. Well....as I was leaving...a cashier said, "hey....you...I know you!" I did not know her. But I acknowledged that she was speaking to me. I told her who I was and where I worked and who my mother was. It was almost like name, rank, and serial number for the military. She continued with, "I know I know you....and those things you just told me are not how.....but...hummm....WAIT! You opened for George Jones in Columbus on Friday night...didn't you?" I blushed a bit and admitted that I was guilty as charged. The lady in the line then said, "I saw you when you sang for Cowboy Crush at the RiverCenter in Columbus," and the man behind her said, "I saw you at the ampitheater in Phenix City. I can't remember the name of your group....but it was you and a couple of other blonde women....and you guys were great! Now...Alexander City is over 90 miles from Columbus....yet, here I was....in my town....in my Walmart....having a moment of paparatzi (excuse the spelling), my brief shining moment of fame....and to be honest. I loved every moment of it. They won't remember me next week....but today...today....I was somebody to be reconned with....I was a Still Magnolia! Happy Monday
Up and at um at 6. I have to be at the Arbor today at 8. I went a bit early so I could fix the altar...after the 9 service....I jumped in my car and headed to Waverly. After Waverly...we went to Mandaring House for lunch...it was pretty crowded. Then on to the gym for cleaning up. It took us 1.5 hours to get it done. After that...Frank and I came home....and I crashed so bad. I love Sunday's....but today was a long day! Heck...it was a long weekend! Have a Happy Sunday....and get prepared for Monday. Yuck! I hate Mondays.
Tonight is the prom....but to get to tonight...I had to complete today. We were at the school at 7 to blow up balloons and finish decorating. I had planned to leave the school by 8ish...it was 9ish before I got away....then it was down to my Aunt Shirleys for a birthday gathering....and lunch....we ate...visited with family....I got to play with the new babies (they were there)...Wheeler and Drew. Then we left and ran by Waverly....so we could make an appearance at the 280 Boogie in Waverly...talk about a crowd. Home, running bulletins, setting up the altar at the Arbor...helping the DJs for the prom...I got home again about 5...took a shower...got ready to go back at 7. Leadout was at 8....with the Prom King (Justin Moncrief) and Prom Queen (Radrequia Findley) being crowned....parents were asked to leave....music kicked up...and the prom officially began. We had a great DJ....if you ever need one...please check on Feel the Beat...they are in Westover, AL...and awesome! We gave away money...every 30 minutes...with the final 300.00 being given away just before 11. The prom was then over....65 hours of work....and it was over in a little less than 3 hours. I was tired....went to Huddle House with Mary and Bill for a little food....and then on to the house....I have to return to the gym tomorrow....at 3 for clean up detail. I am sleepy now so it is good night to all the cinderellas and prince charmings.
oh Lawh....Friday was something else. I worked half a day....ran around like a chicken with my head cut off so I could leave at the half way mark and head for Columbus. At 12:00, Frank and I left for the concert. We arrived at the Civic Center at 2:30. The security guys showed us to our dressing room and we checked out the stage set up, the seating, and then settled into the dressing room....it was even labeled...How cool was that! Our sound check was moved to 5....because George Jones wanted his to be first...hey...it did not bother me....my butterflies had become jackhammers by now. We visited the Hospitality Room....and snacked on food, ran a practice once everyone got there, and finally it was time for our sound check. The sound was amazing. I have never performed somewhere with acoustics like we had here...the lights were hot. After the sound check, we went back to the dressing room, piddled around a bit....ate some, dressed, and before we knew it....they were telling us to get ready to go on stage. We walked behind the curtained part of the stage...and stood long enough to hear Bear from Rooster 106.9 introduce us....and then it was on stage, with lights, flashes, and screaming people. The music kicked off and we started our set with Headin' West. This is a cover song by Dan Seals that Amanda and I have sung for years. We followed it up with Dixie Man...my lead....this song we borrowed from the Forester Sisters. Silver Threads was next...done by Rebecca. She really tore the song up and the crowd loved her. Patti's Song...one of our originals was next. The ladies especially seemed to love this one. It is a woman empowerment song for sure. Grandpa's Music was next....we wrote it too....then Rebecca's velvety voice broke into Help Me Make It Through the Night...at that point....Rebecca began talking about celebrations...and I stood there....looking at the crowd...when I realized they were going to sing Happy Birthday to Me...with the audience....I wanted to die....Frank came on stage and gave me a bouquet of flowers. We finished off our set with our rendition of the Gospel Medley. The crowd was most appreciative. I had a ball. When we finished we all went out to sit with our people...and wait for George to come out. I managed to sit through two of his numbers....he kept dropping lines...so after he sang a few songs...we called it a night....ahhhh the life of a celebrity.
Friday is a comin'...and then Saturday will be here....where does my weekend go? I am a busy person...and sometimes I wonder if I am not too busy. I love the activity....but sometimes I just like to stop and read a good Nora Roberts novel. This is one of those weekends...I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I just finished my to do list for school on Friday....before I leave at half a day....AND...tomorrow night I...well the group I sing with.....WE are opening for Country Music Legend and Hall of Fame Great....George Jones! I am as nervous as a squirrel at revival. I cannot believe that tomorrow night is going to happen...I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not asleep. Now...I must confess...I am not a George Jones fan....but I do know who he is...what he does....and some of his songs....the most important thing here...is that he is somebody.....somebody that people pay good money to come and hear...and in doing so....will in turn here me. Ooops...there goes my stomach again. Every time I think about being on the stage at the civic center....I get jack hammers in my stomach....either that or humongous butterflies. Saturday at 7 a.m. I will be blowing up some helium balloons, then it is off to a birthday party....(of which I am one of the celebratees), then to 280 Boogie in Waverly, AL....I love this...there is stuff, crafts, food, music....works for me!....then home for a small rest before meeting the DJ at 6:30. Prom will be...whether I am ready for it or not. I think I am ready. Sunday at 3....we clean up the mess we have worked on all week. It will take a couple of hours to tear down what we have built over the last 50 hours. I find that amazing....then it is back to work on Monday. Where did the weekend go? I have to admit...I wouldn't really have it any other way....I thrive on this chaos sometimes. Have a Happy Weekend....and pray for a safe prom.
Today is Thursday, Saturday is a comin', and I am a scrambling. Scrambling to get the final touches done for the prom. Once again I find myself as prom sponsor...this time for a final time. I have taught at BRHS for 20 years and been prom sponsor for 13 of those....I think, now that I have turned 55, that it is time for someone else to have a go at it. My creative juices are all dried up. This year has been especially fun....I have some parents. Mrs. McCombs and her classes, Mrs. Parks and her classes, the cheerleaders, and Mrs. Fagan and her classes and countless other teacher buddies who have been life savers as far as working. I do not know what I would do without the help of the ones who give up their time to paint, chaperon, take tickets, give out prizes, and pour drinks for thirsty dancers. I have also got to give one special shout out for Trissie Mixon. I don't know what I would have done without her. She does not even have a child going through this...she is just there....painting....building....designing. I have loved having her around. She is a 90 graduate of our school....and has worked like a trouper. But...lets talk about the week in general...On Monday, my first block class went down and worked half the period....and got so much done it was scary. Third block went down and finished up what first block missed.Tuesday we accomplished even more...and worked after school til nearly 8 getting the back drop built. Weds. was hectic....and we painted the backdrop after school. The back drop, btw, is a 20 something foot painting of 3 paned windows. The kids will walk in front of....for lead out. Lets talk about lead out. Lead out at our school is the social event of the year. People from all walks of life come to watch the kids walk out in the prom....so many of them come...that most of the kids don't even show up until 9...to give the viewers time to leave....ahhhh the life in a small town. Today is Thursday, Saturday is a comin' sooner, ....and the rental company is delivering all the final touches....we will have tables to set up and decorate, floor to lay, a dance floor to assemble, columns to place.....and the list goes on and on....but...no matter what all is still left....and at 7, Saturday morning....I will be there blowing up balloons...nopefully with the help of a few parents...it will be a magical night. It amazes me everytime....how it is so hectic....and then....I turn around, breathe it in, and it just is. I guess that is like life...when we are stressed to the max....and life is so hectic....we need to stand back...take a deep breath....and just let it be....magical! I wish for you all...magic today! I know I can use some. Happy Dancing!
Happy Birthday to me. Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to meeeee. Happy birthday to me.....and many more. Today...for exactly 59 minutes it has been my 55th birthday. I am excited. I love my birthday. I don't know why...it is really a bummer day historically. I mean...come on...it is income tax day....yuck! It is the day the Titanic actually sank....sad. It is the day Lincoln died....how morbid. But with all the bad...there is a good....it is MY birthday today. So, with that said I am going to go and make the best of today. I still have to work....still have to work on the prom.....but in spite of it all....it is my very special day and I am going to be Happy today....even if it kills me. Hope you have a great day today too!
This morning I was up and in the shower at 4:15….getting ready for the beginning of my Easter day…..Sunrise Service in Waverly, AL. It was the Methodist Churches turn to set up chairs, lead the singing, say the opening prayer and host the annual breakfast. This sharing time is one of the things I love so about Waverly. They come together well. The sad part about this morning….is that this is the only Sunday I do the First Methodist to Waverly commute in reverse. Today I begin in Waverly and once the service is over I jump back in my car and head for First Church and the Arbor Service. I missed breakfast again….anyways….the other Brother Frank (the Baptist Church’s minister) spoke today on purpose and when we made our commitments to become a Christian….a Christ Follower….an Easter Person. He shared his date….and when the service was over….he hugged me….and I told him….Labor Day 1970. He understood what that meant….that was the day I became an Easter person. I jumped in my HHR and headed the 30 miles to the Arbor….where….we began with a video clip called….It was Friday….but Sunday is a Comin’. As soon as the clip ended….we began to sing a song called “I Will Rise”….about halfway through the song….some dancers came down the aisle….and I had to shut my eyes….at the most powerful point of the song….they lifted one of the little girls up….as if she were hanging on a cross. I knew I would cry….so I simply closed my eyes and let the music just flow gently over me. Easter music is my purpose….I was put on this earth….to sing about Easter….365 days a year. The end of our service was the most powerful….Rhonda Blythe sang “Worthy is the Lamb”. I love harmonizing with her on this song…..today….Sammy Teel dressed as a shepherd….entered the service….carrying a precious lamb…..he came down the aisle to the front….and knelt at the 6 foot cross…until the song was over. It does not get any better than this….at least it doesn’t to me. I LOVE EASTER!!!!! When I got home from visiting my Aunt Shirley….I started looking for a devotional on Easter and found a great one by Warren Mueller and As Easter ends…I find myself thinking about the death and resurrection of Jesus. “The purpose of his life was to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of mankind. The Bible says that Jesus became sin for us so that we could be forgiven and found righteous in God’s sight (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus was so certain of his purpose that he predicted when and how he would die. (Matthew 26:2). So, as believers and followers….what is our purpose? Some would answer that it is to love God while others might say that it is to serve him. The Westminster Shorter Catechism states that man’s chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. While considering these ideas, Hebrews 12:2 came to mind: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus looked beyond the suffering, shame and death he knew was to come and focused on the joy that would be. I have to ask myself….what is this great joy that motivated him so. I love a lot of people….but to die such a cruel and harsh death for them…..I would have to think long and hard on that one. The Bible says that there is great joy in heaven whenever a sinner repents (Luke 15:10). Likewise, the Lord rewards good works and there is joy in hearing him say, “Well done good and faithful servant.” Therefore, Jesus anticipated the joy that would happen when each person would repent and be saved. He also looked forward to the joy that would result from each good work done by believers in obedience and motivated by love. The Bible says that we love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Ephesians 2:1-10 tells us that by nature we are rebellious towards God and are born spiritually dead. It is by his love and grace that he brings us to faith and reconciliation. God has even planned our good works (Ephesians 2:10)!” Ok….so what is my purpose????? Really???? I know I said earlier…that it is to sing Easter music 365 days a year….but is that really it? I do know after reading Mr. Mueller’s devotional that joy is something I can give….and music does that for some….I know it does it for me. My God is Mighty to Save…and He honors all sinners like us by giving us the ability to please Him. All I have to do is repent, love, and bring Him glory….and He rejoices and experiences joy. How absolutely cool is that? So…at the close of Easter….I want all Easter People…and those who want to be Easter People to simply give Jesus the gift of joy today….tomorrow….forever…. He is waiting on you! Happy Easter My Dear Ones!
Well, yesterday evening....Mary, Rita and I went shopping in Auburn at the mall. The weather was gorgeous...and I drove because there was a chance of rain and Mary hates driving in rain. I don't mind....anyways....we got to the mall and Mary and I hit the Dillards section we love and were having a field day finding stuff. I ended up with three tops...Mary with two. Rita went to Belks. She was looking for an Easter dress. We finished at Dillards, hit their shoe section (you know...you don't pass up the shoe section) and then went to Coldwater Creeks (70% off sale - final week)...and Victoria's Secret. I am a big girl...so I never get anything in Vicky's place except gifts, gift cards, or perfume. Personally I think they should have another side to their store like Dress Barn or Cato's and call it...Victorias Biggest Secret....you know...for us big girls who want to feel sexy too. They wouldn't have to put pictures of us in their magazine adds...or in their store fronts...they can even hide us in the back somewhere...I just would like to know what an Angel Bra feels like. Anyways...we met Rita at Belks....I guess it takes longer to buy an Easter dress than it does shirts and present panties. While we were in Belks...the weather alarm went off....and we found ourselves in a safe place at the Auburn mall....(our safe place turned out to be the little table area of Chik-Fil-A...where we ate supper...and waited out the storm...It hailed...there were tornadoes...not a great night to be off somewhere. We finally were able to leave the mall at 9...and I got home somewhere around 10. As usual....just like when I was a child, teenager, etc....my mom was waiting up for me (to be honest....last night it was kind of comforting)....and then I waited up for Frank after she went to bed. He got home a bit after 12:30...and we visited a bit...talked about our day...and I did not have to wait long to go to sleep....bummer though...here it is early Saturday morning. Heck...it is nearly 5 by now. I have been sitting here since 3. I have caught up on all my blog reading and contest entering for the day and I am dying. I wish I could breathe and not cough. I feel like crap! The pollen has got to go....or I won't survive! I have taken every kind of medicine in the house...and all in the last 30 minutes. I love the concept of spring....all the new life, the flowers, the green....but I hate the side effects of spring....itchy eyes, runny nose, cough, headaches, etc. I guess we can't have the best of both worlds. Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I am excited...except that as a Pastors wife...I have to go sit outside for sunrise service. I am planning on taking a whole bag of Hall's and maybe I will make it through the service with minimal coughing. Easter Sunday is my favorite holiday in the year...so even pollen is not going to dampen my day. Frank has to work at Arby's all weekend....til they close....That means I have the television to myself...how cool is that? No True TV - Franks new favorite show (I actually like it sometimes.) I am going to watch P.S. I Love You...and some other movies I have been storing up...you know...chick flicks. But first I am taking my parents...maybe.... to a picking in New Site, AL...the McCain family do this every Saturday night and my mom has been chomping at the bits to go. If my dad feels up to it...I will take them tonight. Secretly...I hope he is tired. I can tell you....unless I get a nap sometime today...I know I will be! Happy Easter all. Enjoy your day tomorrow. Hug your little ones a little bit more, spend time with your family and the ones you love, Rejoice for our Lord is Risen!
Casting Crowns, one of my favorite groups does a song that really slays me everytime I hear it. The song is called East to West. The words could have been written about me....my life....my feelings.....I don't know the writer of this song....but I know that God allowed this song to be to show me a lesson....and here at Easter time is a good time to reflect on the words of this very powerful song. Never heard it....go to itunes and find it. It is a song that will bring you to your knees.....at least that is where I seem to be everytime I hear this wonderful song. the lyrics are:
"Here I am Lord and I'm drowning In your sea of forgetfulness The chains of yesterday surround me I yearn for peace and rest I don't want to end up where you found me And it echoes in my mind Keeps me awake tonight
I know you've cast my sins as far As the East is from the West And I stand before you now As though I've never sinned but today I feel like I'm just one mistake away From you leaving me this way
Jesus can you show me Just how far the East is from the West Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been Come rising up in me again In the arms of your mercy I find rest Cause you know just how far the East is from the West From one scarred hand to the other
I start the day the war begins Endless reminding of my sin Time and time again Your truth is drowned out by the storm I'm in Today I feel like I'm just one mistake away From you leaving me this way
Jesus can you show me Just how far the East is from the West Cause I can't bear to see the man I've been Come rising up in me again In the arms of your mercy I find rest Cause you know just how far the East is from the West From one scar[r]ed hand to the other
I know you've washed me white Turned my darkness into light I need your peace to get me through To get me through this night I can't live by what I feel But by the truth your word reveals I'm not holding on to you But your holding on to me Your holding on to me
Jesus, you know just how far The East is from the West I don't have to see the man I've been Come rising up in me again In the arms of your mercy I find rest (The arms of your mercy I find rest) Cause you know just how far the East is from the West From one scarred hand to the other(x2)
(Just how far, the East is from the West) (x3)
From one scarred hand to the other
How could anyone listen to this song and have doubts....that no matter where you have come from...he died for us all. THAT is what Easter is all about....reminding us....that Christ died for us....a blameless man....died for me....a sinful creature. What love. He could have just let me go and ended it then. God Bless You All for Easter.
The trip has wound down and we are getting ready to head back across the pond to America. I am excited about going home and sad too. I will miss the UK. I love this place. We have seen Wicked....it was awesome...if you get a chance to see it stateside...GO!. We have pretty much walked all over London. I have sat in the vault and seen famous singers guitars. I went to Hard Rock and got a pin. I have walked til my feet don't feel like they belong to me any more. Our first night in London, we ate Curried chicken...and I was just not up to inhaling it and getting to the play. It did not sit well I can assure you. Our last night was Fish and Chips. I am a Capt. D's kind of girl...so was excited about fish and chips. Was hoping to get some bangers and mash....but alas....maybe next time. London has it all. I hope if you all ever get a chance you will hop on a plane and go and experience London....it is a trip of a lifetime. Happy Traveling!
I am fascinated with Passion Week this year....for some unexplained reason. I have just been curious as to why we call these days by certain names and what exactly is it that we do on that day and why? "Today is Maundy Thursday, also known as “Holy Thursday” it is the Thursday of Passion Week, one day before Good Friday (the Thursday before Easter). Maundy Thursday is the name given to the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. There are two very important events are the focus of Maundy Thursday.
First, Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples and thereby instituted the Lord’s Supper, also called Communion (Luke 22:19-20). Some Christian churches observe a special Communion service on Maundy Thursday in memory of Jesus’ Last Supper with His disciples. Second, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet as an act of humility and service, thereby setting an example that we should love and serve one another in humility (John 13:3-17). Some Christian churches observe a foot-washing ceremony on Maundy Thursday to commemorate Jesus’ washing the feet of the disciples.
The word “Maundy” is derived from the Latin word for “command.” The “Maundy” in Maundy Thursday refers to the command Jesus gave to the disciples at the Last Supper, that they should love and serve one another. Should we observe Maundy Thursday? The Bible neither commands nor forbids it. It is a good thing to remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It is a good thing to remember the Lord’s example of humility..." Easter is a time when we should be truly focused on God and our relationship to Him....because it was a time long ago...when he was definitely focused on His relationship to us! We are creatures of habits....good and bad....but we as believers should steer away from ritualistic observances of holidays just for the sake of it being a holiday. Maundy Thursday is the next step in the greatest love story ever writte...tomorrow, Black Friday....Christ, a sinless being, will chose to die on the cross for my sins...He did not have to do this....but He did. What great love....so here at this special time of the year....I want to pause and just be grateful that He gave me this great gift of Grace! Happy Holy Week to all my readers.
Ok, so today is hump day. It is Wednesday of Holy Week. I know that Monday and Tuesday are called Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday.....Thursday is called Maundy Thursday, Friday is Black Friday, Easter is Sunday....but what about Wednesday and Saturday....what are they called? I pondered over this for a few days and finally began googling the answers. I want to share with you the information I have found....just in case you have an inquiring mind like mine. Happy Holy Week to everyone! Did you know that....? "....only very few people and devout Christians are knowledgeable about Lent and the Holy Week leading up to Easter. Below are the details of the long journey that leads up to the celebration of Easter. Ash Wednesday - period of fasting begins on Ash Wednesday which is 46 days before Easter Sunday. It's a day of penitence to clean the soul before the Lent fast. Roman Catholic, Anglican, and some other churches hold special services at which worshippers are marked with ashes as a symbol of death, and sorrow for sin. Lent-- This is a 40-day (not counting Sundays) period of sacrament and fasting to share the grief by Jesus Christ by self-denial. Today, only a small number of people fast for the whole of Lent, although some maintain the fasting on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Palm Sunday -- the last Sunday of Lent and the first day of the Holy Week. Palm Sunday commemorates Jesus Christ's triumphant arrival in Jerusalem where he was welcomed with open arms. It is also the basis for the Palm Sunday processions. Holy Monday and Tuesday --The cleansing of the temple at Jerusalem supposedly took place on Holy Monday. The Holy Tuesday is the day when the famous incident between Jesus and Pharisees took place where an attempt was made to get Jesus to commit blasphemy. Spy Wednesday -- This is the day when Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Jesus who betrayed him told the chief priests where they could find Jesus. Maundy Thursday-- This is the day of the Last Supper before crucifixion, when Jesus Christ washed the feet of his disciples and held the ceremony known as the Eucharist. The night of Maundy Thursday is the night on which Jesus Christ was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane. The word ‘Maundy’ comes from the command given by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, that we should love one another. Good Friday --This is the day when Jesus was crucified outside the walls of Jerusalem, at the top of Calvary Hill. This day is marked by solemn thoughts, fasting and abstinence to commemorate the pain and suffering of Jesus Christ. Easter Eve --This is the Holy Saturday and Easter Eve. It is a traditional time for baptism. Easter Sunday -- This is the day of resurrection and the big feast. Jesus Christ is said to have risen from the dead after crucifixion. He also joined his disciples for a meal and told them to carry on his works in his absence. So now you all know the rest of the story and I hope that I have given your minds some peace for those of you, who like me, constantly thought about this. Have a wonderful Weds.
Well...today would have been chemo number 6 and instead I am going to the radiation oncologists office at 3:00 to learn our fate. Since my dad came home from the hospital, where he missed chemo's 4 and 5, he appears to have deteriorated rapidly. He is in bed by 4, does not eat supper, does not eat much of anything, looks like a P.O.W. and makes me want to cry. This is not my father. My father is a vibrant man. He is funny, a great storteller, a wonderful dancer, a fabulous father, a loving man, a good friend, a Christian....and this man that is living in my house right now...in what was my father's body is none of the above. This man is sad, he does not talk anymore, he hasn't danced in over a year, he is still a loving man....it just takes a lot out of him for him to give love.....and he has not been to church in I can't remember when. I don't remember my father missing church much as a child....it just was not accepted....but now...I don't think he even remembers what it is....or where it is. Frank and I were talking the other day and he told me that there may come a time when I will have to tell my dad it is ok to give it up....that I will take care of my mom....and it is ok to say goodbye and let go. I cried while he talked....I don't want to let him go.....but I don't want him this way either...so today....at 3:00 when we gather at Dr. Jahraus's office....I will find out what God has in store for me, for my dad, and my family. Pray for us. I don't think my dad can do this anymore. I don't want him to suffer. I love this man...but sometimes quality of life is better than quantity.
I got an email from a congregation member of a local church and since this is Palm Sunday weekend I felt I had to share it with you all today. It makes me stop and ask myself....am I an Easter person?
Edith Burns was a wonderful Christian who lived in San Antonio, Texas. She was the patient of a doctor by the name of Will Phillips. Dr. Phillips was a gentle doctor who saw patients as people. His favorite patient was Edith Burns. One morning he went to his office with a heavy heart and it was because of Edith Burns.
When he walked into that waiting room, there sat Edith with her big black Bible in her lap earnestly talking to a young mother sitting beside her. Edith Burns had a habit of introducing herself in this way:"Hello, my name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Then she would explain the eaning of Easter, and many times people would be saved.
Dr. Phillips walked into that office and there he saw the head nurse, Beverly. Beverly had first met Edith when she was taking her blood pressure. Edith began by saying, "My name is Edith Burns. Do you believe in Easter?" Beverly said, "Why yes I do."Edith said, "Well, what do you believe about Easter?" Beverly said, "Well, it's all about egg hunts, going to church, and dressing up." Edith kept pressing her about the real meaning of Easter,and finally led her to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Dr. Phillips said, "Beverly, don't call Edith into the office quite yet. I believe there is another delivery taking place in the waiting room. After being called back in the doctor's office, Edith sat down and when she took a look at the doctor she said, "Dr. Will, why are you so sad? Are you reading your Bible? Are you praying?" Dr. Phillips said gently, "Edith, I'm the doctor and you're the patient." With a heavy heart he said, "Your lab report came back and it says you have cancer, and Edith, you're not going to live very long." Edith said, "Why Will Phillips, shame on you. Why are you so sad? Do you think God makes mistakes? You have just told me I'm going to see my precious Lord Jesus, my husband, and my friends. You have just told me that I am going to celebrate Easter Forever, and here you are having difficulty giving me my ticket! "Dr. Phillips thought to himself, "What a magnificent woman this Edith Burns is!"
Edith continued coming to Dr. Phillips, Christmas came and the office closed through January 3rd. On the day the office was to have opened, Edith did not show up. Later that afternoon, Edith called Dr. Phillips and said she would have to be moving her story to the hospital and said, "Will, I'm very near home, so would you make sure that they put women in here next to me in my room who need to know about Easter?"
Well , they did just that and women began to come in and share that room with Edith. Many women were saved. Everybody on that floor from staff to patients were so excited about Edith, that they started calling her Edith Easter; that is everyone except Phyllis Cross, the head nurse.
Phyllis made it plain that she wanted nothing to do with Edith because she was a "religious nut". She had been a nurse in an army hospital. She had seen it all and heard it all. She was the original G.I. Jane. did everything by the book.
One morning the two nurses who were to attend to Edith were sick. Edith had the flu and Phyllis Cross had to go in and give her a shot. When she walked in, Edith had a big smile on her face and said,"Phyllis, God loves you and I love you, and I have been praying for you." Phyllis Cross said, "Well, you can quit praying for me, it won't work. I'm not interested."
Edith said, "Well I will pray and I have asked God not to let me go home until you have come into the family." Phyllis Cross said, "Then you will never die because that will never happen," and curtly walked out of the room. Every day Phyllis Cross would walk into the room and Edith would say, "God loves you Phyllis and I love you, and I'm praying for you." One day Phyllis Cross said she was literally drawn to Edith's room like a magnet would draw iron. She sat down on the bed and Edith said to Phyllis, "I am so glad you have come, because God told me that today is your special day."
Phyllis Cross said, "Edith, you have asked everybody here the question, Do you believe in Easter?' but you have never asked me." Edith said, "Phyllis, I wanted to many times, but God told me to wait until you asked, and now that you have asked.." Edith Burns took her Bible and shared with Phyllis Cross the Easter Story of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Edith said, "Phyllis, do you believe in Easter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is alive and that He wants to live in your heart?" Phyllis Cross said, "Oh I want to believe that with all of my heart, and I do want Jesus in my life." Right there, Phyllis Cross prayed and invited Jesus Christ into her heart. For the first time Phyllis Cross did not walk out of a hospital room, she was carried out on the wings of angels.
Two days later, Phyllis Cross came in and Edith said, "Do you know what day it is?" Phyllis Cross said,"Why Edith, it's Good Friday."Edith said, "Oh, no, for you every day is Easter. Happy Easter Phyllis!"
Two days later, on Easter Sunday, Phyllis Cross came into work, did some of her duties and then went down to the flower shop and got some Easter lilies because she wanted to go up to see Edith and give her some Easter lilies and wish her a Happy Easter. When she walked into Edith's room, Edith was in bed. That big black Bible was on her lap. Her hands were in that Bible. There was a sweet smile on her face. When Phyllis Cross went to pick up Edith's hand, she realized Edith was dead. Her left hand was on John 14: "In my Father's house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." Her right hand was on Revelation 21:4, " And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes, there shall be no more death nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Phyllis Cross took one look at that dead body, and then lifted her face toward heaven, and with tears streaming down here cheeks, said, "Happy Easter, Edith - Happy Easter!"
Phyllis Cross left Edith's body and walked out of the room and went over to a table where two student nurses were sitting. She said, "My name is Phyllis Cross. Do you believe in Easter?"
One of my teacher buddies introduced me to the finer laws on the books in Alabama. I could not believe him when he told me about these laws....so I had to go and check them out myself. I was embarrassed when I found them and began reading them. The only thing that made me feel better was the fact that every state in the union has some just as idiotic as these. So...since it is Friday I thought I would share a few with you....to begin your weekend with a chuckle. Did you know that.....
1. It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle. 2. Dominoes may not be played on Sunday. 3. You may not drive barefooted. 4. It is illegal to maim oneself to escape duty. 5. It is illegal to impersonate a person of the clergy. 6. Women are able to retain all property they owned prior to marriage in the case of divorce. However, this provision does not apply to men. 7. Masks may not be worn in public. 8. Putting salt on a railraod track may be punishable by death. (Come on!) 9. Boogers may not be flicked into the wind. 10.Bear wrestling matches are prohibited. 11.It is legal to drive the wrong way down a one-way street if you have a lantern attached to the front of your automobile. 12.Men may not spit in front of the opposite sex. 13.It is illegal to wear a fake moustache that causes laughter in church. 14.You must have windshield wipers on your car. 15.You may not have an ice cream cone in your back pocket at any time. I have to laugh to think that many of these even made it to law. What were our lawmakers thinking? or were they? Griefus....if you want some more entertainment....and you don't live in Alabama....go check out dumblaws.com and enjoy the humor. If you ARE from Alabama there are more laws listed. They even have some listed for different cities in Alabama. Have a great weekend!....and obey the laws.
We left Wales on the 19th and headed toward London. The scenery was awesome. Our first stop for the day was at Anne Hathaways house just outside of Stratford. It was a typical English cottage and the gardens were beginning to bloom making it that much more gorgeous. From here we moved on to Stratford-On-Avon and the birthplace of William Shakespeare, the Bard himself. It was very interesting to hang out where Shakespeare played as a child. In our time here we toured his burial place, his birthplace and scarfed down a Subway for lunch. I am loving some English mustard. It is a cross between Grey Poupon and Cheap Yellow Mustard. We loaded the bus and then headed for Oxford. We spent a couple of hours touring the grounds, a quick bathroom stop, and on to London. We ate dinner at the hotel-Indian cuisine (curry - yuck), and headed off via subway to see Wicked. We were a tad bit late...so we had to wait to enter the theater. It was worth the wait though...the play was awesome.
My sweet friend Trina gave me this award, oh, last week sometime but I have been so very busy and just did not have time to deal with it. I was too busy posting pictures of my trip to Europe. Tonight I decided to take a break and do this and tell Trina THANKS! I love awards and cool buttons.
The rules are very easy. (Those are my favorite kind.) I tell you seven things I like and then pass it to seven other bloggers for them to do the same. So, here goes!
1. Singing with Still Magnolias, Trinity, and the Praise Band....heck...singing period. There is something soothing to me about expressing how I am feeling in song. I wish my world was a giant musical and I could just bust out in song when I felt the moment called for it. People would definitely think I was a weird-o.
2. Traveling- I have seen 47 of the 50 United States...can't wait to get Michigan, Vermont, and Alaska added to my collection of state magnets. I have been all across Canada, Mexico, most of Central America, England,Ireland, Wales, Italy, Germany, Paris.....and there are still so many places I want to see. I think my favorite stateside thing....was seeing Old Faithful....that was a powerful moment.
3. The perfect song to fit my mood -- Sometimes I want to rock out to something from the classic rock genre. Most times I want to sing along to a good ole country "she left me and took my dog" type song. Don't be surprised to see me at a red light belting out some number. Sometimes I am oblivious to the world around me.
4. The sound of rain on a tin roof - My parents have a tin roof on their house and I love the sound of a hard or gentle rain beating on the tin....it is so musical to me. I love the sense of home it gives me.
5. While I am on rain....I love storms. They electrify me. When I was young and a squall was offshore before a hurricane I would go to the beach and bare my soul to the storm. I feel so alive in the middle of lightening and thunder. Sometimes I wish I had become a storm chaser.
6. The smell of sea air. I get antsy when I get near the beach...I want to feel the sand between my toes and smell the salt air. I love it.
7. Hugs - I love to give them...and I love to get them. There is something very calming about wrapping your arms around a sad friend and just letting them know you care enough to enter their intimate space. I think if people hugged more there would be less violence in the world.
OK...so now I get to pass this along to seven of my bloggy friends. They are:
I am a woman who wears many hats and loves them all. I am a singer - I sing with the group Still Magnolias. I was part of the original First United Methodist Church Arbor Praise Team until we moved. After 24+ years of teaching English 11 and Spanish I - II at Benjamin Russell High School I decided to take a job closer to home. I now teach Spanish I & 2 at Randolph Co. High School and Wadley. I thought I was getting close to retirement and looking forward to it, but decided to move my cheese and try something different. I am a preacher's wife and a preacher myself. My husband Frank is the pastor at Rock Mills United Methodist Church and I am the pastor at Midway (Wedowee). It has made our conversations interesting, to say the least.