Thursday, March 5, 2009

Be still and know.

When I was growing up, there was a popular saying ... "Be sure to take the time to smell the daisies." There is just something healthy and good about taking a break from life's chaos. Slow down. Take a walk on the beach. Watch a sunset. Take a quiet stroll. Sit down in the snow... okay, I never heard that one, but you get the idea.

Sometimes, life is just crazy and different personalities deal with life's insanity differently. Sanguines go into over-drive, cholerics get a tad bit demanding, phlegmatics want to crawl in bed, and melancholy's refer to their day-timers!!! Temperments make a difference in how we respond. Understanding personality types will not only help a person understand themselves, but also give insight to family, friends and foes.

Some people believe that temperment analysis is hogwash or even satanic with a slant toward astrology. Dr. Charles Stanley, Pastor of First Baptist Atlanta, GA, frequently refers to personality types. Christian author, Florence Littauer wrote, "Personality Plus", a book that describes the different temperments. The book made a believer in me. God's Word, the ultimate authority, reveals that God took careful measure when He created us. "Oh yes, you shaped me first inside then out; you formed me in my mother's womb." Ps. 139:13. Along with God's Holy Spirit, temperment peculiarities makes the believer's life unique and "wonderfully made!"

May I share with you some personality types within my family???

My mom is a definite choloric! She is strong and take charge, not easily discouraged and usually right! She is very goal-oriented.

My son, Jordy, oh he is definitely a sanguine for sure! He is fun loving, light-hearted, a people person, and a wonderful entertainer!

My son, Justin, hummm.. I'm thinking melancholy. He is a thinker and a ponderer who is highly creative and content to stay in the background. The melancholy type personality is philosophical and finds creative solutions.

My husband is a phlegmatic with a touch of choleric thrown in! Case in point: He is a great mediator which is his phelgmatic side however his choleric side kicks in when he is strong-willed and decisive!

As for me?? I took the personality test and scored very high on the phlegmatic type which means I tend to be easy-going, I keep my emotions hidden, and I am quiet but whitty. :-)

Life does get crazy and no matter what type of temperment you have, rest and reflection is good. I should know, phlegmatics enjoy the quiet side of life.

"Be still and know that I am God. I will be honored by every nation! I will be honored throughout the world." Ps. 46:10

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Holding Hudson

Wikipedia defines a miracle as a "sensibly perceptible interruption of the laws of nature, such that can only be explained by divine intervention, and is sometimes associated with a miracle worker."

On Feb. 15, 2008, I received a very disturbing email from my son's best friend, Drew. Drew and his wife, Kamarie, were expecting their second child and had received devastating news from the doctor. They were told that the chances of carrying this pregnancy to full-term was very slim (less than 10%) and should the baby survive the full-term pregnancy, death was certain within a few days of birth. An ultrasound had revealed that the baby had severe cystic hygroma, which by medical terms is growths of fluid that form as a result of the lymphatic system not forming properly. Best case scenario was Down's Syndrome, however, the severity of the chromosomal defects appeared to make the best case scenario, the least. Although not mentioned in the initial email, Kam later shared that the issue of abortion was discussed by the doctor as an option.

Upon learning that the baby was a boy, this young couple proclaimed Hudson Taylor Miles to the world. At the close of their email, Drew and Kam asked their friends and family to pray for a miracle. "We are still hopeful, because we believe that God could work a miracle on Hudson. We just ask that you pray for Hudson and for us that God will give us peace as we are waiting."

Four weeks later, a second email arrived. An amniocenteses revealed that baby Hudson had Down's Syndrome. He was high risk for certain heart defects. The future was still very unsettling and unsure. Again, this young couple sought the heartfelt prayers from family and friends. A miracle was needed.

On August 12, 2008 at 10:03am, Hudson Taylor Miles beat the odds and was born! Although he had some issues with breathing and feeding, Hudson's prognosis was hopeful, yet guarded. A small hole in his heart was discovered and heart surgery would be sooner than anticipated. Drew and Kamarie had spent the last 5 months preparing, planning and praying. They were now the parents of a special-needs child with Downs Syndrome. But the bottom line, they had a new baby to bring home... a baby who wasn't suppose to live.... a baby they could have chosen to abort.... a baby with ten fingers, ten toes and one hole in his heart.

Baby Hudson came home within a few days after he was born. He has had one heart surgery and today Hudson is smiling, laughing, eating, and pooping in his diapers.. all the things little babies do. His brother, Lane, thinks he is wonderful, almost as wonderful as Thomas the Train. Hudson's parents, continue to see God at work in their lives. They embrace the miracle God has entrusted them with ...facing the future ... faith first.

"Give thanks to him who alone does mighty miracles. His faithful love endures forever."
Psalm 136:4 NLT

Monday, March 2, 2009

Feed Them and They Will Come

There is absolutely nothing better than a good old-fashion, after-church, "on the grounds", casserole dish, covered-dish, pot-luck, finger-food, we got the meat - you bring the fixins, soup-n-salad, ice cream sundae social, spaghetti dinner!! Whew!

Let's face it... Southern Baptist love to eat and it seems that we take every opportunity to do just that! If Southern Baptist were ever to sponsor the Olympics, free-style eating would certainly be in the line-up!

We eat on demand, deliverance and dedication. It doesn't matter if it is sympathy or showers, we are going to nibble, if not naw. Committees can't even congregate without some type of chewing!

As if that isn't enough, NOW we are feeding breakfast at Sunday School. Since when did Sunday School become associated with eating?? Am I over-reacting or are we over-eating at church?? I have attended a few Sunday School "Conferences of the South" and I really do understand the concept of feed 'um and reap, but it seems to me like this may be a subtle attempt to replace the responsibilities of Pop Tart Police in our own humble kitchen.

I have been out of college for a few years (okay... 30 years), but I remember studying about a man named Pavlov. I truly believe his work on conditioned reflexes with the salivating dog is note-worthy at this particular juncture. From my own personal experience, and from what I have observed, Southern Baptists salivate at the site of a steeple. I can remember the little "finger game" I use to play with my boys...."Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and here's the people." Remember it?? We should now take this a step further... "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door wide, there better be food inside!"

This pattern has certainly taken it's toil on statistical seating numbers within the church. Ten years ago, the average church pew could seat 10 adults. Today's statistics reveal a sharp (or should I say "round") change in that figure. The average church pew seats 7.5 adults with no room for wiggle.

There have been attempts made in good faith to balance the scales. The Christian community has developed hundreds of weight loss programs: Weigh Down Workshop, Weight Loss for Christian Women, First Place, The Eden Diet, Vonder Wheley's Weight Warriors, The Lost Vineyard, Fit To Be Me, .... just to name a few. If you google "Christian Weight Loss Programs", you will be amazed at the never-ending list of weight-loss communities for the brethern.

However, the fact remains, "Here's the church, here's the steeple, open wide, there's food inside."

"You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial." 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NLT)

Saturday, February 28, 2009




On the 2nd weekend of March, the small rural communities of Claxton and Hagan, Georgia are submerged with visitors from all over the South. People from miles around come to see the sights of the annual Rattlesnake Roundup. The event has played host to as many as 15,000 on-lookers... 4,000 more people than the county has as residents!

The event began in February 1968, in an effort to reduce the population of the rattlesnakes in the area. The first year a total of 48 snakes were captured. By official count, the largest number of entries collected was in 1992 when 588 rattlesnakes were captured.

The event has become an economic boost for the community. It will certainly be interesting to see what 2009 holds. Not only is there a side-show of snakes, but there is a local beauty contest, Rattlesnake Run and parade. The 200 plus arts and crafts exhibitors fill the grassy lot adjacent to the Evans County Wildlife Club building in Hagan, GA.

The Shriners come out in full force for the annual parade! It's an event that brings the city of Claxton to a complete halt! Weather permitting, thousands will line the streets of Hwy 301 and Hwy 280 to watch dignitaries, beauty queens, floats, bands, and full-grown men either dancing in their Aladdin costumes or driving go-carts that are 10 times too small for their derriere.
I must confess, when Justin and Jordy were small we were faithful to adorn our Roundup Tee-Shirts and position ourself for the best seat on the parade route. It was a huge event for our family. Cousins Ashley and Terry would come to Claxton and off we would go!

Years have passed and so has my passion for the parade and the roundup. I don't think I have actually seen the parade "in person" for several years. A television station in Savannah, GA covers the parade, so it's much easier to watch it from the comfort of my couch, in my pj's with my coffee cup in hand. And as far as the vendors, how many leather belts, house plants, and wood carvings can one person own?? The traffic is comparable to downtown Atlanta on a Friday afternoon!! Have I mentioned the only fast food restaurant we have in Claxton is McDonald's?? (Do you get the picture??)

The Evans County Wildlife Club members, however, have done a great job of making the weekend memorable for those who attend. Up until a few years ago, the Roundup was held in a tobacco warehouse... yes, it was crazy and jam packed! Moving to an outside venue has certainly helped in dealing with the crowd and with the traffic. There are also many vendors who provide some delicious food which does help the long line at McDonalds.
There are some truly awesome things that the Evans County Wildlife Club and the Rattlesnake Roundup in itself does for our community. A large part of the revenue received from this event goes to worthwhile organizations and charities. It is like a MAJOR stimulus check for many groups who do "good things" around our area.
Maybe I should re-adjust my thinking on this aggravating weekend... where 15,000 people come to my small quiet little town of Claxton, GA. But I'm still watching the parade in my pj's. 

**For more current pics of 2011 Roundup click here!
Be generous: Invest in acts of charity. Charity yields high returns. Ecc. 11:1

Friday, February 27, 2009

I See The Moon and The Moon Sees Me

When my boys were small, we would often take late evening walks to the pond next to our house. There were many nights when the moon would be bright and brilliant. But then, there were those nights when the moon appeared blue. However, it really didn't matter what color the moon displayed because it was always magical and illuminated our evening walks.
There is a sweet rhyme that we use to cite when the moon made an appearance. "I see the moon and the moon sees me. God bless the moon and God bless me." This little sing-song rhyme was soothing, happy and always brought a giggle. I believe the boys liked it as well. :-)
The moon was certainly no stranger to us. We enjoyed our nightly adventures by moonlight , but we also spent many a bed-time ritual reading "Happy Birthday, Moon" a delightful children's book written by Frank Asch. This book was a simple little story about a bear who befriended the moon by carrying on a conversation with the moon. The closer the little boy got to the moon, from hill-top to hill-top, the clearer the conversation became. The conversation was in reality the echo of the little boy's own voice. However, this repetitive monologue revealed that they both had the same birthday and they both wanted a hat for their birthday! You do get the picture.. don't you?? The little bear buys the moon a hat and because of a strategically placed tree limb, the hat is a perfect fit for the moon. Later on that evening, a breeze blows the hat right to the footstep of the bear's house. When the bear finds the hat, he assumes this hat is a gift from the moon. There are a few more twist and turns to this story but it is truly a simple story of friendship, caring, sharing and forgiveness, along with a lot of determination! My boys loved this little story.
Isn't it awesome how God provides us with life lessons through His creations. Look for them, they are everywhere!

God spoke again to Ahaz. This time he said, "Ask for a sign from your God. Ask anything. Be extravagant. Ask for the moon!" Isaiah 7:10

Don't Worry .. Be Happy!

There is just something so magical about the transparent, genuine smile of a child. There is no inhibition or restraint, just pure bliss.

In 1988, Bobby McFerrin, Jr. recorded a song that made it to #1 on the billboard, Don't Worry, Be Happy. The song was awarded Grammy's Song of the Year and the album, Simple Pleasures, won Album of the Year.

I actually googled "smiley face." The top entries listed were related to the little yellow smiley face which displays nothing more than two small dots for eyes and a slight curve for a mouth. Often times the words "HAVE A HAPPY DAY!" will accompany this little face. There is a large debate over the originator of that face, but the fact remains, that particular "smiley face" is bigger than ELVIS and very much alive! Smiley Face is frequently on buttons, posters, t-shirts, beach towels, mugs, greeting cards and earrings.

Smiles are contagious. Some are lopsided. Some are crooked. Some are down-right frightening. Smiles can be weary or weathered. But then there are those smiles that are full of energy and electricity and just make you smile when you see it... like the one in that photo!

The one thing that we all have in common about our particular "smile" is that we control those "smile" muscles. As we grow older we may need a bladder tact due to muscle issues or we may have under-arm "bat wings" as a result of lazy muscle tissue, but those little smile muscles are faithful. With minimum daily use, a smile can ease the heaviest burden of a distraught friend. It can make the wait at a fast food drive-through a little more bearable. It can say "your special" without uttering a word.

Psalm 42:11 (The Message)
"Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God— soon I'll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Best Friends

Wikipedia defines "friendship" as a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more people. Other words of interest that are noted in the definition include trust, empathy, loyalty and affection.

This particular picture is of my son Jordy and his best friend since Pre-K, Kelvin Goodson. This candid shot was taken right before their Senior Prom. They had been posed and polished with their dates on each arm, but as this picture reveals, it was time to relax and just laugh. This is the kind of picture that just simply makes a person smile.
There has always been something special about the friendship between Jordy and Kelvin. I think one of the most interesting aspects of their relationship has been the lack of competitiveness. Boys, in general , just seem to have a natural competitive streak. However, throughout the years, these two best friends have always had "each other's back". Growing up and watching them play, I was always amazed at how they wanted the best for each other. They have both had other friends... lots of other friends. But their friendship has a closeness and a bond that is truly special.
I often wonder where life will take Kelvin. He is a very smart young man with great athletic ability. Kelvin has spent many, many hours on the baseball field. His versatility makes him a "coach's favorite" and his gentle, but domineering conduct crowds love! He has social graces that are sadly becoming obsolete!! Of course, I always wonder where life will take my Jordy!! My son is intelligent and he has a personality that brightens up the room when he enters. And although he hasn't put as much time on the playing field as Kelvin, Jordy is the ultimate team player that brings balance and consistency to a team. He doesn't give up. He looks for the best in people and always considers their feelings.
Ten years from now, I don't know where Jordy or Kelvin will be or what they will be doing. But one thing I feel is certain, they will have each other's back and they will most definitely still be best friends.

"Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family." Proverbs 18:24

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dripping Faucet

The house that my husband was raised in is located right next to our present home. We live on a family farm and Randall's mother lived alone in that home for 30 years. Randall's father died when Randall was just 6 years old. The brick house still stands and occasionally plays host to visiting family members. However, to be honest, it has become a wonderful refuge for Justin's theology books and my out-of-season clothes.

In the back of the house are two bedrooms with a restroom adjoining them. Justin took this particular picture of the old facuet in that restroom. I laughed when I first saw this picture because this particular facuet has caused me so much frustation and irratation. It appears that Justin has turned on the water and his lens, with the help of shutter spead, has captured the water dripping. The fact is that the water never stops dripping. It has a continual drip. No amount of pressure applied stops the drip. As if the noise of the drip isn't bad enough, the basin is ruined from the stain from the dripping. (Remember ... farm... well water.. rust... yuck). I can be in one of the bedrooms and I can hear it. I can be walking down the hallway toward the bedrooms and I can hear it. Heck, I can hear it just looking at that picture!! That water dripping is one naggin' irratation to me.

While writing this, I asked Randall if I "nagged" him. He actually looked at me like I was crazy, which was a good thing. "Of course, you don't nag me!" I felt a sigh of relief within me. I don't want to be a nag.

Maybe I won't "nag" Randall about un-tucking the sheets on his side of the bed tonight. Each morning I make up our bed and ever so tightly tuck the sheets at the foot of the bed. However, at night Randall untucks the sheets with "proclamation" when he gets in our bed. I like my sheets tucked.. He likes his un-tucked. He stands at the foot of our bed and proudly "un-tucks" his side of the bed as I am laying there as if to say.. "ugh huh!" Oh my gosh!!! I'm NOT the nagger.. he is!!! Drip.. Drip.. Drip...

A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet; You can't turn it off, and you can't get away from it. Proverbs 27:15

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Chicken Challenge

The biddie bus came down Tippins Road today bringing us 54,400 baby biddies to care for and love! Yes, we are bonafide, certified chicken farmers. We have been foster parents to these little critters for 14 years Wow! Approx. 6 times a year we take in these cute little biddies, feed them, water them and encourage them to eat to their hearts content! (Our last batch ate 342,000 pounds of feed.) At the end of their stay which could be anywhere from 36 - 44 days, 8 Eighteen Wheelers from Claxton Poultry come to take the big honkin' chickens to the chicken plant. They are processed and eventually find their way into the menu of Chic-fil-a', Wal Mart Super Stores or the like.
I can remember vividly our first "grow out"... the term used to represent their period of stay on our farm. (Never really thought about why it's called "grow out"... but considering it is our task to fatten them up, maybe it's descriptive. Maybe we should refer to Thanksgiving and Christmas Seasons as "grow outs"). Our family was so excited about this new adventure that we even created a "Reality Series" and videoed the process.. beginning to end. The documentary included a fashion show.. the latest trends in chicken wear, footage of the "chickens with disability" area, coverage of the chicken nails (honestly, women would die for sturdy nails like theirs!!)... and last but not least, the final walk. The final walk was probably the most touching aspect of this Chicken Reality Series. With tender care, it was videoed with music in the background... Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You" while me and the boys carried our buckets picking up dead chickens for the final time. (Did I mention that many chickens die layin' on their back with one leg straight up.. as to say.. "Take me Lord, I'm ready!" Palin will be thrilled if the chickens are in heaven too!!!)

Mr. Norman Fries was the President of Fries Farms and owner of Claxton Poultry when we initally started our home-based business. I wrote Mr. Fries a poem about our family adventure and shared it with him before he died a few years later. I called my tribute..
This adventure it's true,
we began in the dark,
Plannning, preparation and prayer
helped get us off to a great start.
Decisions, decisions...
made in light of the truth
that neither Randall nor I
knew beans about a chicken coup.
Adams Poultry, of course,
took their sweet time.
While Tippins Bank made interest
on each and every dime.
Then finally that day, at last, did arrive.
Claxton Poultry wanted to know,
"Can you keep our biddies alive?"
Justin and Jordy, Randall and Jo
looked at each other and said,
"Of course! We've been ready to go."
Our schedules, they changed,
as we knew they would.
The boys, Connie and friends from around
did what they could.
Late nights, early mornings for 46 days,
then the call came.
"Oh yes! We're ready... they're NOT the same!"
"Their ugly, they've changed. No longer are they cute.
We can't bride our boys to help..
We all need a space suit!"
So yes, the crew came
We'd been warned all about.
Eight hours later
our houses looked like a hurricane route.
But two weeks later, for all that work,
we received a nice sum,
in hopes that our first .. is a sign of many to come.
From beginning to end,
We've come to be blessed.
Our family has been a team
and now we've had our rest.
So Mr. Fries, we're back up
and ready to go.
TIPPINS POULTRY FARMS can make you proud
we'll make your sweet biddies grow!


If you're a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don't call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it's something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift. Romans 4:4


In the late 60's there was a popular television show called The Land of the Giants It was about a group of space travelers who had the misfortune of landing on a planet where everything... surroundings and inhabitants .. were "super-sized". The giants diligently worked to seek, kill and destroy the wee ones.
When I first saw this picture, I thought of this short-lived series. Justin is obviously laying low in the rye field and his brother, Jordy, is looking larger than life. When my dad saw this picture on Justin's Flickr Web Page. he called it From An Ant's View. Okay, so possibly the ant has a telescope, but you get the idea.
Whether it be the perspective of the ant or the ill-begotten space traveler from the 60's, it's not a comfortable feeling to be looking in the nostrils of a "giant"; walking among giants is even more stressful. We have all experienced "giants" in our life. Sometimes we run from them, other times we face them head on. I've heard it said that giants are like life-storms ... we are either just coming out of one, in the middle of one or getting ready to enter one! Giants .... storms.... they are all around us. Delivered or devoured... which will it be?
It appears that each of us are facing a giant called "Recession". He seems be looming around every corner laughing in our face and talking behind our back. It appears he has stolen our money, our hopes and our dreams.... just watch the news. How long will this giant torment us? How much more devastation and heartbreak can he do? Does he really have the power to lick all the red off our sucker??
I don't know where all this will lead and how it will end. I do know that my perspective will make a difference as to whether or not I will worry or worship. I also know that God is sovereign... and is in total control of the universe. None of this has taken Him by surprise.

1 Samuel 15:34-37 David said, "I've been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I'd go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I'd grab it by the throat, wring its neck, and kill it. Lion or bear, it made no difference—I killed it. And I'll do the same to this Philistine pig who is taunting the troops of God-Alive. God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine." The Message

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Irrigation for the Soul

There is something about "farm pictures" that I have always loved. They stir something inside of me that makes me appreciate the men and women who till the land and plant the seed. Farming is probably one of the most "thank-less" professions (along with law enforcement) in our culture. Pictures of farms, farm equipment and crops remind me of the simple necessities in life.

This particular picture is taken of an irrigation pivot system located on the property that our family leases for farming. These systems have become quiet popular because of frequent drought seasons. This bad boy has a price tag of approx. $50,000. This particular bad boy has a bad boy brother a few hundred yards away. The cost of these glorified water hoses gives me even more respect (or should that be sympathy??) to the farmer and the landowner.

It is always an interesting sight to watch these systems crawl across a field. These mechanical centipedes are powered by motorized systems that generate enough gusto for travel. I have always thought it would be perfect subject matter for a Alfred Hitchcock thriller or Stephen King blockbuster. Remember Children of the Corn?

Check out the thunder clouds looming above the pivot. Shortly after Justin took this picture a "gully washer," as we call them down south, provided nourishment to the soil. God has His own way of tending to His creation that pales against this giant water sprinkler. God is the Original Nourisher of the soil and the soul. There have been times in my life when I have settled for "imitation sprinklers" for nourishment. But nothing quenches true thirst like the showers of God's words when we allow them to pivot and guide us.

Fear not, Earth! Be glad and celebrate! God has done great things.Fear not, wild animals! The fields and meadows are greening up.The trees are bearing fruit again: a bumper crop of fig trees and vines! Children of Zion, celebrate! Be glad in your God.He's giving you a teacher to train you how to live right—Teaching, like rain out of heaven, showers of words to refresh and nourish your soul, just as he used to do. And plenty of food for your body—silos full of grain, casks of wine and barrels of olive oil. Joel 2:21-24

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Store That Love Built

Living in a small south Georgia town, I have come to realize that last names can take on particular meaning and significance. Often you will hear people say... "you part of them Stricklands?? Sapps?? Todds??" Of course, other names are often mentioned but surnames especially in small, rural areas bring familiarity.

My maternal grandparents' last name was "Love". It's happens be to ranked #311 in popularity in the US according to The surname "Tippins" is listed as 18900. Wow... I'm thinking those "Tippins" think they are a little more popular than that!! haha!

My grandparents, Roy and Irene Love, are buried in Nortonville, KY, a small coal-mining community in western Kentucky. Daddy Roy and Mom, as we called them, represented their surname well. And though their last name appears to be fairly common, they were not. Up until their sicknesses, they kept the road from Nortonville, KY to Claxton, GA hot... always coming with a tool box! Daddy Roy was a great repair man (and came cheap!!) They had a passion for Christ and His church. They were like "Jesus... with skin on".

My grandfather died of cancer in 1995. He fought the good fight and lived 7 months after his diagnosis of colon cancer. There was an 8 hour difference of time between me and my grandparents, and I only saw him a few times before his death. I had so many things I wanted to tell him. I wrote him a little poem, The Store that Love Built. I mailed it to him but we never had the chance to talk about it. When I wrote the poem, I was feeling extremley guilty that I had not spent more time with him. This poem is framed in my house as a reminder.
May I share it with you??

If "thank you's were noted on lifes special account,
I guess "over-due" would read on much of my amount.
For I've never walked through your good will store...
that I didn't leave with good feelings galore.
You stock your shelves with kind words and soft smiles,
You encourage and show compassion all down your long aisles.
Upon entrance a whistle of a special little tune,
that signaled to me.. "My Daddy Roy's in the room!"
This store within, you have built with God's grace,
Today I thank you for the love you didn't waste.
For you see from your one store, a chain did evolve
that nurtured me with love and kind words, even when I was small.
And now that I'm older, I look at my past.
I see the my purchases were made to last.
The Store that Love built, you are owner, that's true,
And I love you and "thank you" for overlooking my "past due."

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints."
Psalm 116:15

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Randall and I have four grandchildren... Grace, Cady, Jacob and Ruby. These precious little door-steps are the off-spring of Randall's son, James. James and his wife Robyn live on the other side of the world, California. When I first saw this picture taken by Justin, it instantly grabbed my heart. I don't mean a Fred Sanford.."It's the big one"... type tug to the heart. It was more like a Timmy and Lassie moment.
I honestly don't even know what the little fellow, Jacob, had done. But it must have been something worthy of his parents rebuke for Jacob had found his pour soul in the time out chair. I won't dwell on the sin but rather on the sinner (ouch!!). Upon close examination of this picture, one can see Jacob's head lowered. His nose peeks from under his bangs. His posture appears to be one of submission, sorrow and sadness. (My stomach is in my throat just typing this! waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!)
But do you see it? Do you really see it? Beyond the bangs and the bended knee, there was something captured that only the photographers eye could grab in that instant ... the light. It's the light that brings on the emotion. It's the light that gives hope that soon someone will rescue Jacob from his scorn. It's the light that will encourage Jacob to leave this posture of shame. It's the light that brings hope.
"You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it." Ephesians 5:8 (The Message)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Heavenly Bandit

My son, Justin is quiet the avid photographer. He took this picture of our 10 year old boston terrier about a year ago. This handsome pooch's name is Bandit and Justin call's this photo "Heavenly Bandit." The picture has been posted on and has received many accolades.
It does have a angelic aspect don't you think?? I've written about Palin, the sweetest dog I had ever had but I can't forget about Bandit. He has been around long enough that I truly feel he should be considered a tax deduction. He is a member of the Tippins Family. We have had him since he was a mere 6 weeks old. He is getting older and as he gets older a certain streak of stubbornness has become visible. I have heard certain "older folk" say they have earned the right to say what they want to say (aka.. bossy, rude) just because they have reached their golden years. I think Bandit has that same kind of attitude.
A couple of months ago, Justin tried to "love on" Bandit.. you know, flop on him, pet him.. dog.. friend bonding type moment. Get the picture.. it's after midnight. Bandit's bedtime is 8pm. He has entered his REM SLEEP STAGE. Bandit is a DOG. He is 70 years old, by human standards.. and he is a fiesty 70 year old! The picture on the right was also taken by Justin.. I like to call it.. "What Were You Thinking Justin!!??" After a trip to the hospital (they didn't suggest stitches) and to the church (we have the greatest first aid kit!!), things were quiet between Justin and Bandit. Bandit knew he had done wrong... Justin knew he had done wrong (he didn't admit it, but I know he did!!) But forgiveness was on the horizon.
38-42"Here's another old saying that deserves a second look: 'Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.' Is that going to get us anywhere? Here's what I propose: 'Don't hit back at all.' If someone strikes you, stand there and take it. If someone drags you into court and sues for the shirt off your back, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. And if someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously. Matt. 5:38-42 The Message

Re-Thinking My Valentines' Day

Valentines' Day 2009 is one that I probably will try to forget. I spent most of the day laying in bed. When I wasn't laying in bed, I was "close and personal" with my commode. Yep.. I had the virus. So the question was... who gave it to me?? You have to find someone to blame. I had two obvious choices... Jordy or Michelle. Michelle, my co-worker and dear friend, was sick for about 3 days.. each of those days dragging herself to work. Can you say CONTAGIOUS?? Jordy, my 18 year old son, called me from his college apartment 25 minutes down the road. "Can you come and get me?" When your college student son calls and actually WANTS YOU... you go. His virus lasted approx. 24 hours. He was a sick puppy. When your baby pup is sick, the "moma dog mode" kicks in .. and who cares about being contagious.

So there you have it. No, actually I have it. The virus. Praise the Lord, mine doesn't appear to be lasting very long. Yesterday was like a bad dream. I moaned .. I groaned.. yes, I am a moaner and groaner when I am nauseated. I have always been that way. I can't say that it makes me feel better. But if I'm sick, I am going to groan. Without going into much detail, just know that I spent alot of time in the bathroom... and a lot of time groaning. 'Nuff said.

Yesterday while I was laying in the bed, I thought about people who deal with sickness routinely. When I stared at the relection of my face in the commode, I thought about cancer patients, people with chronic illnesses. My experience pales in comparision. Maybe I needed that virus to get my attention. Nausea sucks.

Today, there seems to be some light at the end of the tunnel. My whole body aches tremendously.... convulsating vomiting (is that a word??) makes you feel like you have just ran a marathon or done a work out with Jullian from Biggest Loser.

My friend Andy still lies in the hospital in Savannah, Pama continues to collect her tears and God continues to count them. My friend, David came home Thursday from the hospital with a new esophagus and stomach with no cancer...God did a miracle. Chelsea's grandfather took his last breath.. he will miss seeing her graduate from High School.

Okay.. my Valentines Day wasn't so bad.

This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 (New Living Translation)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

God Collects Our Tears??

My devotional today was a reminder of how much God cares for us. I sent it to a dear friend, Pama Caraway. Her husband, Andy, is in very serious condition from injuries sustained during a motorcyle accident. He was flown by LifeStar to Savannah's Memorial Hospital on Saturday. He has some spinal cord injuries that is presently causing paralysis in his lower body. He has extreme swelling and possibly this is the cause of the paralysis. Today, Pama wrote in the caringbridge journal that Andy now has pneumonia in his right lung. I can't imagine what she is going through. Pama is a strong sister in the faith. I prayed this devotional would encourage her.
God's word states in Ps. 56:8 .. "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in Your bottle. You have recorded each one in Your book."
One thing that I appreciate about my friends is that they care about me. It means a lot when my friends celebrate my joy and empathize with my sadness. At times when I'm sad enough to need a good cry, I feel comfortable letting go around close friends. I find huge encouragement, then in discovering that God cares about my sorrows enough to collect and record my tears. Since our eyes produce an avg. of 10 oz. of lubricating tears perday, God would need a good-sized bottle on days when we shed extra tears! To think that a God who made us and sustains us also collects and records our tears is astounding. He really cares about us.
I googled "tear bottle" and was delightfully surprised to find that there is some history with "tear bottles". The history is captivating and poignant. Tear bottles were prevalent in ancient Rome and Egypt, when mourners would collect their tears and bury them with loved ones to show honor and devotion. Tear bottles re-appeared during the 19th century Victorian era, when tears were collected in bottles with special stoppers; the tears evaporated and once gone, the mourning period ended, but the bottle remained as a token of eternal devotion.
Please keep my friend, Pama and her husband in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My Dog Died

About 4 months, Randall and I became the proud parents of a 2 year old black lab. Palin, as we affectionately called her, was by far the sweetest dog we have ever had! Being a die-hard dog fan (and no, I don't mean GA Dawgs), I have been blessed with several wonderful dogs in my lifetime.... Jody, Tabitha, Liberty, Samantha and Molly.

Bandit, our Boston Terrier, has been with us for about 10 years. He has rightfully earned a very special place in our heart. Justin, Jordy and I know that we probably take second place in Randall's heart because of the affection given toward this dog from Randall. Bandit has aged gracefully with a few gray hairs. However, his "will" has remained strong! (Just ask Justin!)

Palin .. was differerent. We adopted her from the local dog pound. She was a "free dog".. ha, which means she was the most expensive dog we have ever had. We had her spayed not long after adopting her. Because of some complications with stitches, Palin required a little extra attention but it was all worth it. She loved being loved on and never met a stranger. Hyper and happy doesn't even come close to describing Palin's bubbly personality! She was a meloncholy with a touch of sanguine! She was a roamer and a chewer. She had spoiled me and Randall to the point that she spent alot of time inside. She was the only dog I have ever "tucked in" at night. She slept next to my bed on a blanket with her head on a pillow. When bedtime came, Palin would gracefully retreat to her blanket, lay her head on the pillow and I would cover her up. (Keep in mind this dog stretched out was at least 5'5".. she wasn't a tiny thing.)

Without going into great detail...she died today. She suffered from an obstruction in her intestines. Infection had set in and part of her intestines had started to die off. She was put down. Her last night with us Palin didn't sleep on her blanket.. she slept right at the edge of my bed with my hand on her. We knew she was sick and I could sense she was dying.

I have to think the God is absolutly crazy about animals. He created them.. he had Noah to build a special boat for them. And his word places high esteem upon those who take care of their pets. Have you ever wondered if pets will be in heaven?? If heaven is such a wonderful place (and I know that it is).. doesn't it make since they would be in heaven ? I love to entertain the thought. I guess it is one of those things we won't know until we get there. But for now, I'm missing Palin and praising God for letting us have Palin for the time we did. Palin... I hope I see you at the pearly gates.

The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. (NLT) Proverbs 12:10