Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Monday, December 15, 2008

I Am What I Am - 100%

My cousin Judy sent me an email today. It caught my eye immediately. It was entitled "I Am A Teacher" and by a man named John W. Schlatter. I had to share it with you all because it pretty much sums me up and it may mean something to many more of you.

I am a Teacher.
I was born the first moment that a question leaped from the mouth
of a child.
I have been many people in many places.
I am Socrates exciting the youth of Athens to discover new ideas
through the use of questions.
I am Anne Sullivan tapping out the secrets of the universe
into the outstretched hand of Helen Keller.
I am Aesop and Hans Christian Andersen revealing truth
through countless stories.
I am Marva Collins fighting for every child's right to an education.
The names of those who have practiced my profession ring like a hall
of fame for humanity...Booker T. Washington, Buddha, Confucius, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Leo Buscaglia, Moses and Jesus.
I am also those whose names and faces have long been forgotten
but whose lessons and character will always be remembered in the accomplishments of their students.
I have wept for joy at the weddings of former students, laughed with
glee at the birth of their children and stood with head bowed in grief and confusion by graves dug too soon for bodies far too young.
Throughout the course of a day I have been called upon to be an
actor, friend, nurse and doctor, coach, finder of lost articles, money lender, taxi driver, psychologist, substitute parent, salesman, politician and a keeper of the faith.
Despite the maps, charts, formulas, verbs, stories and books, I have
really had nothing to teach, for my students really have only themselves to learn, and I know it takes the whole world to tell you who you are.
I am a paradox. I speak loudest when I listen the most. My greatest
gifts are in what I am willing to appreciatively receive from my students.
Material wealth is not one of my goals, but I am a full-time treasure
seeker in my quest for new opportunities for my students to use their talents and in my constant search for those talents that sometimes lie buried in self-defeat.
I am the most fortunate of all who labor.
A doctor is allowed to usher life into the world in one magic moment.
I am allowed to see that life is reborn each day with new questions, ideas and friendships.
An architect knows that if he builds with care, his structure may stand
for centuries. A teacher knows that if he builds with love and truth, what he builds will last forever.
I am a warrior, daily doing battle against peer pressure, negativity,
fear, conformity, prejudice, ignorance and apathy: But I have great allies: Intelligence, Curiosity, Parental Support, Individuality, Creativity, Faith, Love and Laughter all rush to my banner with indomitable support.
And who do I have to thank for this wonderful life I am so fortunate
to experience, but you the public, the parents. For you have done me the great honor to entrust to me your greatest contribution to eternity, your children.
And so I have a past that is rich in memories. I have a present
that is challenging, adventurous and fun because I am allowed to spend my days with the future.

I am a teacher...and I thank God for it every day.
Thank you John W. Schlatter for making me proud of what I do. I am a teacher and what I do everyday makes a difference.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

What You See Is What You Get?

What you see is not always what I see....or what you get? I got out my passport the other day to see if it was current....and got my driver's license out to see if it looked like me....I had to admit....the more I looked at it....and the more I begged God to not let it look like did....and does.....I am who I am.

Yet I worry, what will people think? When it comes to my appearance....but you know....God thinks we are fine just like we are. He made us.....Oh my....I must have found another here I go.....sinning again.

You know when it comes to idols in my life....there is only one way to loose their hold.....repent, replace, rejoice. I know to know that bad boy order to repent.....that is the only way I can take away it's power over me.....I have to identify it as a lie and understand that it is dangerous.....after I repent....I have to replace it with Christ....then rejoice......In the song, "Farther Along" there is a life lesson on idols we should all follow....." Tempted and tried we're oft made to wonder. Why it should be thus, all the day long. While there are others, living around us. Never molested, though in the wrong. There is no magic money back guarantee...and you will not see a perfected you in 30 days.....but you will have inner peace and forever satisfaction. Praise God for His love, satisfaction, and being.

Bless you all, K

Friday, December 5, 2008

Idol Chatter

What is your obsession????? What do you feel you were created for??? What worthless idol gets your attention? Is it some famous Mel Gibson...or Edward Cullen?...or perhaps....shoe shopping???? I was not real excited when I realized that things that had my attention....were my foci....were called idols....why? Simply put...if those things are idols....doesn't that make me an idol worshipper? The truth is....I do have numerous people, places, things...that I turn to before God for comfort, pleasure, satisfaction, purpose, meaning in life.....and yes chocolate could be one of those. I used to get a chuckle out of the t-shirt that read, "Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt." I don't laugh at it so much any more. Idols....grab your affection and tell you nothing but big, fat lies. They promise you love, power, comfort, pleasure....but you never really get it....what you end up with is willingly forfeited grace.....and a big, fat empty feeling. So what does capture your attention? I would have to say...mine would be the need for security. I personally need to be approved of and what part of the gospel am I NOT believing?? I struggle with this every day of my life and....just when I thought I had it under mom moved in with me....and the insecurity reared it's ugly head again. The struggle I guess boils down to this....simply....God is God....and I AM NOT!....but maybe I am a little like Adam and Eve in the Garden....when the snake tempted them with a chance to be like God if they sampled the fruit....maybe I want a taste myself.....I am learning....slowly.....that the more I get to know God.....and who He really is.....the more I trust that He does know what is good for me.....and that has a 100% guarantee. There is an old doo-wop song that is very appropriate here:
To know know know Him
Is to love love love Him
Just to see Him smile
Makes my life worthwhile
To know know know Him
Is to love love love Him
and I do.....

Peace to you all.....K

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still Magnolias

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am part of a trio called Still Magnolias. We have been singing together for a number of years. We met at the Loft in Columbus, Ga. Now, Amanda and I have been singing together since we were babies as she says....hardly....I am two years older than she is....but it sounds good. I thought today would be a good day to introduce the readers to the girls. They truly are exceptional women and I am glad to be a part of such an organization of such extraordinary women. PTL! Sooooo...with that said....let me introduce you to the women in my life.

Who Are We?

Amanda Brown
singer, songwriter, guitarist

Amanda looks at her life she says, "Life is about living, no waiting, so get in the car girl and Let's Go!" A native of Mobile, AL, she is a registered nurse with a Masters Degree in Management. The talented third of Still Magnolias wears many hats during her day. She is a hospital administrator for Compass Group. Right now she travels all over and helps hospitals who are floundering. She is the wife of one, mother of two, (soon to be grandmother of two), one of three Still Magnolias and the second of four daughters.
Amanda's first song, "The Best Man," was written about her father who was killed in a work-related accident when she was eight years old. Her mom, Shirley, father, Charlie, and her grandfather, Lee Terrell Prophitt, passed along to her deep roots in music. The legacy of her grandfather is forever captured in "Grandpa's Music," an early co-writing venture with her cousin, Karen. The song tells what it was like growing up in a mill village with a musical family. "I thought everyone grew up with music," says the crooner. "What a shock when I found out they didn't."
Listen to her music and you will hear that Amanda weaves into every song her stories, her humor, and her heart. "Singing three part harmony is one of the purest ways to touch someone's heart." If you don't believe her, then come and listen to Still Magnolias sing. What an experience you will have!

Rebecca Harris
singer, songwriter, percussionist

When you ask Rebecca if she has lived in Columbus, GA all her life she will chuckle and tell you, "Not yet! I still have a lot of living to do!" Believe me when I tell you this barely 5 foot dynamo can pack 48 hours worth of living in 24 and never bust a sweat. Rebecca is the Entertainment Coordinator for Phenix City Parks and Recreation. She is one very busy lady making carnivals, street dances, concerts happen in Phenix City. This remarkable woman has an uncanny knack for making people give 110% of themselves.
Rebecca's richly varied musical experience incorporates jazz, country, rock, folk, blues and gospel into her distinctive lead and harmonic vocals. As a singer-songwriter she draws from her life experiences as a true southern woman. "The Shelter" was written to let women know that there is a place to go if they are in an abusive situation. This song premiered at a benefit concert for the Columbus Alliance of Battered Women in October of 2000.
All of the trio boast of rich Indian heritage, but it is Rebecca who spends her spare time reading up on Indian history, folklore, and natural healing. She and her husband, Stan, a talented artist, remodeled their home to reflect a unique southwestern aura. Her writings are both passionate and light-hearted. She is happiest when she moves her audience to feel the power of her words. She has a unique gift of making people feel like they are sitting on her back porch swing, singing along and possibly becoming part of her next song.

singer, songwriter, guitarist, kazooist

If you ask me about my life so far, my response is that it has been an incredibly enjoyable adventure. An original Florida native, I cut my teeth on the music of my grandfather, Lee Terrell Prophitt. One of my fondest memories was listening to all the music that came from my grandparent's house. Music has always been a passion. The song, "Flight 307," came while driving home from a trip to Nashville with Amanda. It was hastily polished off at a center table at "The Loft" in Columbus twenty minutes before show time.
I, like the other two, also wear many hats. I teach high school Spanish at Benjamin Russell High School during the day and at night sometimes you will find me teaching aspiring writers the rudiments of English Composition I and II at Central Alabama Community College. I teach Sunday School, lead a Bible Study, sing in the Arbor Praise and Worship Service at First United Methodist, and during the summers have been known to strap on power tools and get down and dirty with Appalachian Service Project in the Appalachian Mountains.
Harmony is my favorite part of a song. I love to find those haunting additions to make a song full. A storyteller at heart, I love weaving stories into songs and performances. This singing teacher loves her job, loves to sing and wonders, just how many people can get up every morning and know that every major thing they do in their lives they love?" I can, because I do....everyday! I truly am blessed.

So now that you have met us...what do you think? We are just everyday women...with everyday an everyday world....who love to sing and love being part of each other. From blue grass to gospel and ballad to is quite a ride....and I don't want to get off anytime soon.

Peace Out, K

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cinderella? I Don't Think So.

I went to a women's conference last weekend and one of the speakers, Angela Thomas, asked the the book Cinderella....what character are you? Wow what a powerful question. I sat there for a long bit and thought about my answer....I chuckled softly to myself....I know I would not be Cinderella....I am not beautiful enough. I don't think I would be the wicked step-mother....I am not that mean.....and certainly not the wicked step-sisters....cause I am not that feet aren't that big never occured to me to be the fairy god-mother.....and I knew I wasn't the mice, the coachman, the pumpkin (although that was a thought) who would I be? Then it came to me. All my life I have suffered from poor/low self-esteem....I am an almost paralyzing state. I would have been the other girls at the know...the ones who stood at the wall....wishing the prince would ask them to dance.....and when it did not happen....going home with my girlfriends....talking about all the other people at the dance. Yep, that would be me....the no-name characters.....the ones you never see....or know. Let me tell reality....that was my life. The only people who thought I was pretty....were my parents and God.....and my parents had to love me....and I thought God needed glasses. I can remember asking God....why can't I be beautiful God? Why can't I have a cool name God? Why? Why? Why? Then one day it dawned on God's eyes....the one who created me....I am just exactly like he wants me.....and I am beautiful. The problem is....I don't look in a God mirror everyday....and I don't see a beautiful person....I see every single flaw. I remember a particularly hurtful time in high school....when the captain of the football team....asked me to a party. ME! He asked ME! His name was Mike...and I was hopelessly in love with him. I remember sighing every single time he passed my locker on his way to class. How silly we are as teenagers....anyway...I am digressing. Mike asked me to this party. I, of course, said yes.....the only thing I did not know....was that it was a joke...his friends had dared him to ask me. I was the brunt of a joke....fortunately....God intervened....Mike picked me up for the party, we went out to dinner first, then took a drive....(we were supposed to arrive last)....somewhere during the drive....God took control of the wheel and Mike....we never made it to the party....and we dated for several turned out...Mike thought I was funny.....and loved to hear me sing....which...if a radio was on.....I did. He took me to Phipps Park....and we swang.....and danced under the moonlight. It was probably one of the most romantic evenings I ever experienced. It was not until after I graduated from high school that Mike owned up to the lowness of the behavior. Kids can be so cruel. I am....many years later....learning to be pretty....still struggling with an anorexic struggles with eating. The coolest thing I have an the word GUIDANCE. Guidance is my special time with someone who thinks I am is that time when God is in the room....and we dance. It is that special moment when He puts His arms around me....and tells everyone else...."Hey, this is my baby girl....." Wow! It is at that exact moment that He invites me to dance the dance of my life with Him. He does not make me be a Wall Flower....He makes me a strobe light......Guidance....God U and I Dance....and oh what a dance it is. I may never be Heather Whitestone in my eyes....but it is ok....because in God's eyes....I am His....and that is all that matters.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

God's Favorite Music

I love XM Radio. I have it in my car and spend my drive time flipping between Channel 7, which is 70’s music and 32 which is The Message. I really like the kind of music they play on XM32, The Message. It’s contemporary. It’s catchy. And it’s Christian. Maybe I should just tell you….I love music….I love to sing. I sing when I am happy, sad, depressed, worried, it does not matter…I just love singing.
I was listening to my Ipod the other day to one of my favorite songs by Mary Mary. The song is called “Shackles” and trust me….when it comes on….I can hardly stand or sit still…The words talk about the corners of our minds where we just can’t seem to find a reason to believe that we can break free….cause we have been down for so long, feel like all hope is gone…but as we lift our hands we’ll grow to understand that we should praise God through each circumstance. It seems that everything that can go wrong seems to go wrong at one time. There is so much pressure building up in us that sometimes it seems we might lose our minds….but we should know that God wants to see if we will hold on through these trials….the only thing is, is that we will need Him to lift this load because we can’t do it on our own!....The song then asks Jesus to please take these shackles off my feet so I can dance….I just want to praise you…..I’m gonna praise You….You broke the chains so I can lift my hands….set me free….so I can praise you…... And all I want…today….and everyday is praise you Lord.
I am telling you….I love that kind of music... But I am also intelligent enough to know that not everyone does! The truth is that we don’t all like the same stuff. When First United Methodist in Alex City started the Arbor service….which I am a part of… there was no organ and we began to worship with the hottest contemporary music of ten years ago, many people said, "Wait a minute! I miss the classic hymns! Where’s "In the Garden? Where’s "Rescue the Perishing, Care for the Dying?" Where’s "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms?" Those songs made me think! They had depth! And substance! And power! And they can touch my heart like no other music I’ve ever heard!" So let me ask you. Are the songs in the hymnal the only kind of music God blesses? Does God have a favorite music?"I believe that the Bible can teach us about the kind of music God appreciates. Number one: He likes variety. Psalm 150 mentions 9 different instruments!
Psalms 150: verses 1-6 says
“Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; Praise with a blast on the trumpet, praise by strumming soft strings; Praise him with castanets and dance, praise him with banjo and flute; Praise him with cymbals and a big bass drum, praise him with fiddles and mandolin. Let every living, breathing creature praise God! Hallelujah! “
And Colossians 3:17 mentions psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
“ And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. “
The early church was very creative. They took psalms from the Bible and put them to music. They created praise choruses. They even wrote new hymns from scratch. Philippians 2:5-11 is a good example. Verses 5-8 tell us to “Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.
9-11 continues with “Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father.”
We have no idea what this stuff sounded like. But we do know that there was variety in the early church.Since the Praise and Worship service started at the Arbor 10 years ago, I’ve been to polka masses, contemporary worship services with massive bands, and with combos, churches with full blown orchestras, and traditional services. And I can truly say that I was blessed at each one. As a matter of fact….every Sunday for the past two years when the Arbor service concludes….I jump in my car and drive to Waverly United Methodist where I am the pastors wife at a church where the mean age of the congregation is over 60 and they love those old hymns….and we recite the Apostles Creed….and I love being part of this too. God doesn’t prefer one music style over another. He prefers that we worship him in Spirit and in truth. No matter what style of worship we choose.In the late 1980’s Saddleback Community Church in California decided to play contemporary Christian rock music And within a year of that decision, the church literally exploded with growth. And now they have almost 20,000 in worship each week. 20,000….can you believe that? Waverly has almost 40 members….First Church Alex City has 1000….but I can’t even comprehend.....20,000.But….just as Saddleback exploded with their contemporary plan… down in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, near my home town of West Palm Beach….you will find Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church…this church made a decision to stick mainly with traditional pipe organ music. And God is blessing them, too! Today, they have over 10,000 members. Sometimes, people go to church ….any church….just because the music scratches them where they itch. Does it really matter what got them there?.....I think what God wants….is just for them to be there….whatever kind of music floats their boat. The point is that God uses all kinds of music to reach all kinds of people for Jesus Christ. Our God is a God of variety.Another thing that God likes is new music! Psalm 33:2 says "Sing to the Lord a NEW song. Don’t just sing the same tired old tunes over and over again! Let’s try something different! Let’s speed up the tempo! Let’s add new instruments. Let’s be open to a new working of the Holy Spirit! Let’s get the blood flowing!" One of my favorite traditional songs…is Be Thou My Vision….and Amazing Grace……but I also love Chris Tomlin’s version….Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone. I cut my teeth on traditional music…but have matured my soul with a music blend.In Exodus 15, after God brought the Jews out of Egypt, the first thing the community did was to celebrate by singing a new song! "I will sing unto the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously. The horse and rider were thrown into the sea!" And in Judges 5, when God delivered Israel from the harsh rule of the Canaanites, they wrote another new song.Did you know that every major revival in the history of Christianity was always accompanied by new music? When Luther broke away from the Catholic church, he wrote a new song called "A Mighty Fortress is our God." And when Charles Wesley wrote "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" in 1739, the Great Awakening was just breaking out in America and in England. So new music is not a sign from the devil. It’s a sign of new life! And creativity. A hint that there are better days ahead for the people of God! Another thing that God likes is passionate music. Sometimes when people sing hymns, they sound so dreary. (sing wearily) ’Happy Day. Happy Day. When Jesus washed my sins away." The way people sing it, it doesn’t really sound like a happy day. It sounds like they didn’t want to get out of bed…..but let me tell you…I love how the black churches sing. They could teach us a little something about passion. (with passion and clapping) "O Happy Day! O Happy Day! When Jesus washed, my sins away!" Psalm 33:1 says "Sing joyfully to the Lord" You’re singing to the one who saved you from sin, death, and hell. And changed your life for the better. So sing like you mean it! God likes music with Christ centered lyrics. It’s not the music that makes a song sacred. It’s the message that makes it sacred! The most powerful songs ever created are songs that give glory to God. That’s why I love Psalm 150: "Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary. Praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tamborine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals. Praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath PRAISE THE LORD! Praise the Lord." The most important thing about Christian music is that Jesus Christ is praised. It doesn’t matter if the song is rock. Or Bach. If Jesus Christ is glorified in the lyrics, then the song is sacred.That’s why I like the Christian rock band Apologetix. They’ve taken some of the worst secular songs I’ve ever heard. And by given the lyrics a Christian perspective, they’ve turned them into some of the best songs I’ve ever heard. They took Eminem’s filthy song "The Real Slim Shady." And they turned it into a song about Jesus Christ now called "The Real Sin Savior." And I can’t even listen to that song now without crying. It’s so incredible. And it touches me deeply to know that some of the secular songs that used to be so dirty have been redeemed for the glory of God.And let me just give you two quick pieces of advice about music in the church. First of all, be open-minded. We can no longer assume that the only kind of music God is blessing is 150 year old organ music. God is bigger than any one person’s musical tastes. And he can use any piece of music he wants to bring glory to himself. When my son, who is now 38 was 5….he attended Bible School…..that is not a big thing really….my kids went to bible school all summer at every church in town. I had more bible school crafts than Heinz has varieties…but…one particular bible school stands out….the first day…he came home singing a song he learned in bible school…it went something like this….”We have a King who rides a donkey, we have a King who rides a donkey, we have a King who rides a donkey, early in the morning….I had a fleeting moment….of recognizing the tune….but not the words….and I blew it off…until later in the week….when I found the lyrics to the secular song that the innocently sweet bible school song came from….it was rewritten from an Irish pub song….called “What do you do with a drunken sailor.”….Talk about God using music….to get His message across…that was a profound lesson.
And number two: besides being open-minded….you must Be tolerant. Romans 15:7 says "Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you." God accepted Tom Balliew even though he’s a little bit country. And God accepted me even though I’m a little bit rock and roll. And we should accept each other.Ten years ago….when the Arbor service began…. I heard my church argue over the issue of traditional versus contemporary music. There was a group in the church saying, "We want modern church music! We’re tired of singing the same old hymns that have no melody! We have to modernize the way we do worship. We have to stop pretending that it’s still 1953. If we don’t start looking at ways to change things, then the church is gonna die!" And there was another group in the church saying, "Wait a minute! This church has done fine the way it is for all these years! There’s no way you’re going to make us sing those lightweight choruses that repeat the same phrases over and over again like a broken record. The hymns are much more meaningful. If you don’t like it, then you can go to another church." Fortunately our pastor at the time was a man of great vision….who had a love for both services….And this is what he said: "I’m interested in serving the entire congregation. Not just the side of the street that agrees with me. Let’s leave the 8:30 am and 11:00 worship services alone. And let’s start a third service at 9:30, as an outreach for the community members who won’t come to traditional service…let’s go out and disciple to them….in a different way.” By having both a traditional service and a contemporary service, we were able to reach people for Jesus Christ that we weren’t able to reach before with the traditional service. Remember: God’s favorite music is not bluegrass. Or country. Or even rock and roll. God’s favorite music is anything that brings honor and glory to Jesus Christ. And nothing would bring him greater honor than for you to come back to Him this morning. And repent of your sins. And ask for forgiveness and salvation. That is truly God’s favorite music. It is music to his ears. When His people bow down….and talk to Him. So make sure you take some time today to pray....even if it is just a short blurb in the car at the stop light.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Lesson On Loss

My cousin Judy sent me a profound email today and I just feel I have to share it with you and speak on it. The email read as follows:

To realizeThe value of a sisterAsk someoneWho doesn't have one.
To realizeThe value of ten years:Ask a newlyDivorced couple.
To realizeThe value of four years:Ask a graduate.
To realizeThe value of one year:Ask a student whoHas failed a final exam.
To realizeThe value of nine months:Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
To realizeThe value of one month:Ask a motherWho has given birth toA premature baby.
To realizeThe value of one week:Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realizeThe value of one minute:Ask a personWho has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realizeThe value of one-second:Ask a personWho has survived an accident.

To realize the value of a friend or family member:
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more whenYou can share it with someone special.

Hold on tight to the ones you love

Now for Karen's Comments on this....I lost my brother when I was almost ten. I hear people talk about how much they hate their brothers and sisters...or wish they were only children. Trust me...that is not something you want. I would give anything to have a brother to fight with....or to share the burden of my parents with right now. But I don't. As for a sister. I guess Amanda, Terry, Linda and Missi are the closest things I have to sisters biologically and Mary would be the closest thing to a soulmate sister....but they are still NOT full blooded sisters. Advice to those of you who are out there wishing away your siblings....don't do it!

When I married in 1976, I never thought I would see the day that I would become a statistic....yet, in 1998....I did. After 22 years of marriage....I walked out of the relationship. It was my choice....but even with that being was devastating. I wanted to die for a long time....I thought I would for a long time...and one day I came out of the darkness, met a wonderful man, learned to live again, and life did go on. But it was not an easy chore.

I have both a bachelors and masters degree. I worked long and hard to get those pieces of paper that hang on my wall. They were worth every penny. I did not realize how worth it they were until I had to support myself and put my daughter through college. I am so glad I went to school. I would do it again if I had too.

I learned one life you win some and lose some. I also learned that same day that whether you win or lose the outcome is a learning experience that makes you a better person.

So, today, if you read my blog or not....I hope you will take time to appreciate all you have and those in your life that are special to you. In the blink of an can and might lose something that is near and dear to you....I know...because I have.....but the one thing....I can never lose....that is always with me....every single day I draw breath is the love of God....for that I will be eternally thankful. Bless you this day, Karen

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Trash in Our Lives

My husband preached a sermon today about taking out the garbage. Now, I know that that is not a job most of us love to do. I know I don't. I hate taking out the trash. I hate the smell, I hate the weight of the bag, I hate the mess it makes...but still it is a job that has to be done. We continuously make trash.....but that was not exactly what his sermon was on. His sermon started with with a story told by Max Lucado about a tired, weary woman who was carrying around a bag of trash....and meeting other people carrying around trash as well....finally she meets a man....who tells her what is in the trash....regrets, shame, anger, ....all kinds of nasties. He then tells her to meet him at the dump on Friday to get rid of her trash.....she does....and there are many other people there....with trash to get rid of....each person dumps their trash on the man...and he cries out in agony....til they can see him no one leaves...they wait....finally....on Sunday....he appears again....clean, neat, and whole. Well, I don't know about you but I have never heard the crucifixion story told like that....and it bothered me....a lot. I wiped away a couple of renegade tears as I sat there and listened to the rest of the sermon...on the edge of my pew. If we don't unload our just gets heavier, smellier, nastier...and harder to handle....So Frank asked the congregation...."What is in your trash bag?" Well....if someone were to look inside mine...what would they find? I can assure you it is trash that I have been carrying around for years....and buried deep down in the bottom of my trash a box of special is the trash I have hidden away so no one can ever find it...and look at it. If they did...they would be ashamed of makes me ashamed of myself. In my life there have been many things I have said, felt, done....that I am not proud of....and over the years they have kept me from being the Christian I should be. Jeremiah 3:25 tells us that "We lie down in our shame-and our reproach covers us for we have sinned against the Lord our God."....yet I know I am not alone in this fact...Romans 3:23 tells me that "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!" It does not say some, or a few, or Karen says A-L-L! with that being said....I should, can, will, must....dump the trash I carry around on a daily basis. Philippians 4:6-7 tells me to "be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." ...Hello...that is a simple command to get rid of it!!!! Jesus died for my sins....all that trash I have carried around for so why should he pay for nothing. I personally am going to get rid of my trash today! I am tired of carrying that stinking mess around. I hope you will choose to do the same thing. I will be praying that you let it go right now and follow me away from the landfill called Mt. Calvary. God Bless You This Week!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Extended family...or is it?

We are adding new members to our extended family in February and I am so excited. My cousin, best friend, singing partner, Amanda's children....both of them are going to have babies in February. Ramona is due Feb. 15th and Suzanna, David's wife, is due Feb. 20th. How cool is that! Cousins will be almost like siblings and that is my topic today, Amanda and her sisters. I am a very fortunate person to have the family I have. We are so close that I can't imagine a family not being like us. My brother died in 1963 at the age of almost 6. I was 9. It was a very sad moment in my life and I don't think I could have gotten through it if it had not been for my extended family. My aunt Shirley, my mom's sister, has four girls....their dad died the same year my brother we just kind of adopted each other and became a big family. Terri is the oldest daughter and she is just a year younger than I am. Terri is a mega A personality but I adore her. She speaks her mind and takes charge. During my life as a child, teen and adult there have been many times that she has had to help me take charge of situations in my life. Terri is a great deal like my mom. Amanda is the next daughter and she is 2 years younger than me. We share a lot of common interests and sing together...and share just about everything with each other. She calls a spade a spade and has always been there to pick me up when I have fallen. I don't know if I could have gotten through my first marriage and my divorce without Amanda and her husband Randy. They opened their home up to me....and several became a joke that they were running a home for wayward women there for a while. They are awesome. Linda is daughter number three...she is like me...more a type B personality. We really make wrong choices sometimes....but she is such a loving and dear soul that I cannot imagine my life without her in it. Melissa is the baby. She is ten years younger than I am....and I adored her as a child and teen....but love she and her husband Clay to death as an adult. The girls were always there when we would arrive in Alabama and always wanted me to go home with them to the Valley. Many nights of skating, dating, and doing a few other unmentionables filled my visits with wonderful memories. Amanda and I began playing guitars and writing music and having children about the same we bonded quickly. We are traveling, singing, sharing, crazy acting adopted sisters. She fills my life with special moments and I am so very proud to be part of her life. She shines on stage and shines in life with her effervescent personality. When you meet feel as if you have known her forever....and you want to be around her all the time. As a Still Magnolia she dominates the stage with her presence....and for that I am grateful....because believe it or not...I am the shy one of the group. I just want to sing....and Rebecca and Amanda sometimes have to make me talk....but Lord when I start talking....something takes over and I can't shut up.

Rambling back to Ramona and David. When Ramona was born I thought there could be nothing anymore perfect on the earth. She was the most beautiful baby ever...and the first time she grasped my finger with her little baby hand....I was hooked....line and sinker. She was precious. Then came my own daughter, Kat....she was 2 years younger....and they were so much alike...and so was like having two daughters....and then came David....he is 6 months younger than Kat....and he was all boy....from the start. He had a twinkle in his eye that was hard to resist....Years passed....they grew....made choices....went to school....and then one day David met this glorious creature named Suzanna. She was breathtaking. I knew the first time I met her...that she was David's life mate...even though they didn't. They married and are now at seminary in Louisville, KY. I miss quick access to them both. They are such fun...David is very musically oriented. He sings like an angel....and Suzanna....she is my crafting counterpart....I know that God has His hand in their marriage....just like I know His hand is in Brian and Kat' is just one of those prayers that was answered....and you know it! Ramona....met Dustin.....and He was Mr. Incredible! She referenced him to the cartoon character....Mr. Incredible...and the first time we met this remarkable young man....I knew she was right....and that he was her lifemate. I have never in my life met anyone like Dustin. He is funny, loving, and FSU fan....from Florida....he is smart...and a doll. I cried through their entire wedding out of shear joy that someone would love My Ramona like I wanted her to be loved. He is Amazing! Now the generations are continuing the cycle...and there will be babies in both households. I could not be more excited for Amanda and Randy....coming off of a very sad few years....this...this is what life is all about....Life Goes....and Life Goes On....We truly are part of a bigger plan...and My God is Amazing! I love you Dustin and Ramona and David and Suzanna....and of course...Randy and Amanda....let the baby showers begin!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Webster's dictionary defines the word freedom like this:
Main Entry:
before 12th century
1: the quality or state of being free: as a: the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action b: liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence c: the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous d: ease, facility e: the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken f: improper familiarity g: boldness of conception or execution h: unrestricted use 2 a: a political right b: franchise, privilege
synonyms freedom, liberty, license mean the power or condition of acting without compulsion. freedom has a broad range of application from total absence of restraint to merely a sense of not being unduly hampered or frustrated . liberty suggests release from former restraint or compulsion . license implies freedom specially granted or conceded and may connote an abuse of freedom .
As I began to search the web for something about freedom....religious....national....just freedom in general I came across a devotional by Mike Pohlman who is an editor for and I had to share it with those of you who read my blog from time to time. The words were very powerful and I added a few of my own thoughts as well. His devotional is entitled:
Another Declaration of Independence: Freedom in Christ
by Mike Pohlman, Editor,

So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31-32

Like millions of Americans this week, my mind is on the Fourth of July holiday and what it represents: our freedom as a nation. This freedom is a precious thing, bought with the sweat, toil and blood of countless Americans who initially fought to obtain it (Revolutionary War), as well as those who have fought to secure it in the centuries since that fateful day in 1776.

Gratitude without measure wells up in my heart when I consider the brave men and women of the American military who, this Fourth of July, will be fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to combat the tyranny of terrorism. These soldiers stand in the train of valiant warriors who fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and the first Gulf War. Each of these conflicts—while unique in themselves—shared the common goal of protecting American freedom. Today’s battles are no different.

But even as I prize my freedom as an American, I am moved to consider a greater freedom—my freedom in Christ. It is the freedom that comes with being a disciple of Jesus Christ. “If you abide in my word,” our Lord declares, “you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31-32).

This statement was shocking to Jesus’ audience. These proud men thought they already had all the freedom they needed by virtue of being “offspring of Abraham” (8:33). Jesus proceeds to point them beyond any national, social or religious freedom they might enjoy to the freedom that comes through His person and work: “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin … So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (8:34,36). Contrary to what Jesus’ listeners thought, they were in bondage to sin and subject to the tyranny of it.

Commenting on this passage of Scripture Leon Morris writes, “People do not always, or even usually, realize that they are in bondage. They tend to rest in some fancied position of privilege, national, social or religious. So these Jews, proud of their religion, did not even know their need to be free.”

Even as Christians we can fall prey to the temptation to trust in other things for our freedom from the tyranny of sin: status, money, good works, associations, etc. But the true disciple finds freedom in Christ and Christ alone.

What am I trusting in today?

The Fourth of July is a wonderful time to consider our freedom—as Americans and as Christians. Our national freedom is precious, but our freedom in Christ is of infinite worth.
The great hymn writer Charles Wesley was undoubtedly moved by his freedom in Christ when in 1738 he penned this stanza:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay, Fast bound in sin and nature’s night; Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

The saving truth that Jesus speaks of in John 8:32 brings ultimate freedom—freedom from sin and death and the devil; freedom from a life of futility and an eternity of wrath. It is freedom from the tyranny of hate and bitterness and cruelty. It is the freedom to love God and neighbor.
May this “Declaration of Independence” be on my lips and in my heart this Fourth of July holiday
Wishing you all a wonderful 4th of July. Spend time with your families, eat too much, and remember to thank God for this day. Our country was founded on Him, so He should be present in the celebrations.
Have a blessed day and thank you Mike Pohlman for giving me this insight today! God Bless You today and always!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Other Geigers

Back in May, Memorial Day weekend to be exact, I took my parents on a long trip. We returned to West Palm Beach....a place that they lived for over 30 years and now don't even recognize. Nothing was the same....but the one memory I have from the trip is a very sad one. We arrived in West Palm on Saturday evening. The folks were staying with their friends the Geigers and I was going to spend a couple of days with my cousin Barry and his wife, Joyce. I left them with the Geigers with plans of returning the next evening for a big meal with old friends still left in Florida. I was excited. Sunday morning I got up and went to a church that contained what used to be my church....but in a different a different part of town. My old church is now a museum called the Harriet. There are zodiac characters where the once beautiful stained glass windows stood. Sad....After church I went to Publix to get the stuff to make a killer fruit salad...and we all got ready to go to dinner. It was fun...but my mom was acting she was scared. When we were alone on the couch after dinner she informed me that on Monday we would be going to see stuff....AND she wanted to see her other friends...."What other friends?" I asked...."You know" she replied, "the ones who used to live in the blue house...two doors down....who had the daughter who was my friend....the one named Carol." I tried to explain....that we were at those people's house....she did not the next morning Joyce and I picked them up and we went sightseeing....she kept mentioning those friends she wanted to see....during lunch...Joyce and I realized....she was talking about the YOUNG Geigers....not the ones she was staying with. No wonder she was scared. I had taken her to a strange place and left her with strangers. She had not seen the Geigers in over 25 years and did not have a clue who they were. My dad...he was cool...he knew them and was very content with his old buddy Harland. When we returned to the Geigers (the old ones)....we got out Mrs. Geiger's photo albums....and aged the Geigers for my mother....once we did....she was fine with where she was and who she was with.....Joyce and I wanted to cry on the way back to her sad to lose that much information. It really put an ashy taste in my mouth for the rest of the trip and believe me....we were all ready to return to Alabama on Weds. morning. Return to the familiar. My parents enjoyed the trip....we probably won't make it again....and I learned a valuable lesson....things change and you cannot return to the past. Que Sera Sera! Happy Traveling to you all this summer!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

An Only Child of Aging Parents

Today I was a little frustrated about being an only child. I was surfing the internet to find some information on caring for the elderly, dementia, and alzheimers when I cam across something far more valuable. bold letters was a section called Beatitudes on Aging. I read each one and sat at my desk feeling very small and kind of sick at my stomach. I had just had a feeling of frustration for having to take my parents visiting tonight when I really wanted to just read....but....then I read the following words:
"Blessed are those who understand my faltering step and weakened hand.
Blessed are those who know that my ears today must strain to catch the things they say.
Blessed are those with a friendly smile who just stop by to visit a while.
Blessed are those who never say "You have already told that story twice today."
Blessed are those who make it known that I am loved, respected, and not alone.
Blessed are those who through love and care ease the days of my journey home in so many ways. " I felt very small after reading this. I like to think I am a patient person...and have become a much more patient person since my parents moved in with us three years ago....but the last few weeks have been rough. I know most of it is because I am not at work....I am off for the I have no where to run. My mother and father are both faltering more and more each day. They walk like elderly people. When did that happen? When did the vibrant parents I remember....grow old? I have to repeat most of what I least twice...sometimes even more....especially for my father. His hearing aids sit in a jewelry box in the bedroom instead of his ear canals. I wish THEIR friends WOULD stop by and visit them....but during the course of the three years they have lived here....their friends seem to have forgotten them. That breaks my heart....people that they did so much for when they were active in their community...don't give them the time of day. My parents spent many afternoons....delivering tapes of their church services and visiting the shut ins....and now the tables have turned and no one brings them even a bulletin. They have not been to church in two years. These are parents who raised me in a Christian home....where we always went to church....I go....they stay at is so sad. My mom says she does not feel up to going to dad does not even know what day it is. My dad repeats himself a lot....I have decided to get a mike for my lap top and get him to start recording his stories....they will be gone when he is. My parents are so appreciative of anything....feeling needed, feeling loved, just getting up....and I know that when they are no longer with me....I will grieve deeply...being an only child is hard. My husband Frank is a saint. It is not easy to let someone come live with you....we were basically newlyweds when they moved in....yet, he just takes it in stride. Oh....he gets angry do I....but he is a loving man....when he told me I do....he never much that would involve. Some day I will be old too....and I have one daughter...what will become of me....of us. Kathryn and Amy will be in charge...better not make them mad....they will be the ones picking out our nursing homes. I want a nice one. Remember that girls!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Time for All Season's

Pete Seeger wrote one of my favorite songs and the Byrds made it famous....but it actually comes from a bible verse I learned as a child in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The verse goes, " To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun. A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;a time to kill and a time to heal ...a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance ...a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;a time to lose and a time to seek; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace."

These are the words of Kohlat, the Preacher. Did you know that? I did not. I have read the words hundreds of times but had no clue who said or wrote them until I started searching. I know Pete Seeger and the Byrds were not around they had to come from somewhere. They are timeless words. These words touch me. Some of it I do not like to hear. The hate, for instance -- what is that all about? I am a child of God and we are taught to love our where did the hate word come from and why? I found an explanation that I believed and wanted to share it with you.

"The Preacher, as he is called in Ecclesiastes, began by pointing out that for everything there is a season. Life, of course has its seasons, not just the seasons of the turning of the earth. We are born; we live; and then we die. We go through a lifetime of seasons and cycles. We go through puberty and then on into adulthood, and then we become elderly, and, hopefully, wise. Life waxes and life wanes. We notice the whole universe operates in cycles and seasons, and comings and goings. At the end of the cycle of seven days we practice the Sabbath and to be honest it's not terribly relevant whether you worship on a Saturday, a Sunday, or a Friday, or a Tuesday. The point is that every seven days we turn again to God and renew our connection. We take a journey, the journey is what it is all about."

"The Preacher then says there is a time for every purpose under the sun. The sun represents the great universal symbol of the higher Self, God manifest, the central source of light and life within the soul. So, there is a time for every purpose under the sun, under the soul, under our higher Self. Paul said, "Know this also, that now is the time and hour that we should awake from our sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than ever we believed (Romans 13:11).
A time to be born: Being born is symbolic of the consciousness being raised from the lower mind to the higher. This, is the second birth. The expression "to be born again" meant to change one's thoughts and habits. "

"A time to die. There is the physical death, but it is never a final death, because we know we are eternal beings. But metaphysically "to die" is to die to the lower aspect of oneself, because as we continue the journey and continue to raise our consciousness, we begin to lose contact with that lower, instinctual, animal part of our nature. That is the journey. And it is for all of us the goal. "

"A time to plant. It means to sow truth in the mind; affirmations in the subconscious. To plant seeds of truth and faith in our children; words of wisdom or consolation to a friend, that may be reaped years later. Sometimes you have the experience of being with a distressed friend and you say whatever occurs to you. Years later they say to you, "You know, you didn't realize it then but what you said to me changed my life." We have no idea when we sow what will be reaped. Its not our business. It is our business to sow; to share the truth that we know.
A time to pluck up that which he has planted. It is a time to harvest -- to reap the benefits of God's truth and God's good."

"A time to kill. Sounds pretty gruesome. But metaphysically it means to kill that part of us that holds us down; that limits us; the darker side of us. We all have a darker side. The way to get rid of darkness is to shine light on it; the light in the mind; the light in the heart. The more we open to light the smaller the darkness grows. "

"A time to heal: Healing comes through right-minded thinking which is to eliminate the sense of separation. There is only one basic problem in this world and that is alienation from one another; alienation at all levels. To the degree that we can handle that problem; to the degree that we can stop seeing differences and start seeing the fact that we are all one. "

"A time to tear down: To break bad habits of thinking; to give up prejudices; to eliminate our resistance to the fact of our own divinity, or to God. To sacrifice the belief structures that are no longer valid -- they never were, really, but now that we can see them more clearly; to give them up; to tear them down."
A time to build up: To lay a foundation of wisdom and understanding on which to build the structure of love and service to the family, to the church, to the community, to the nation, and to the world. "

"A time to weep: To weep for joy and to weep for sorrow. There are bitter tears at times; the kind of bitter tears that Peter wept after he denied Jesus three times, then realized what he had done. Jesus also spoke of a different kind of crying when he was carrying the cross to Golgotha and the women along the way were crying. He admonishes them, "O daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep over me; but weep over yourselves and over your own children." (Luke 23:28) Jesus knew he was going to his Father. The women and children would continue to suffer in this world. The shortest sentence in the Bible is, "Jesus wept." (John 11:35) -- a time for tears. "

"And then, of course, there is a time to laugh: Jesus said, "Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh." (Luke 6:21) So that is something to look forward to. The journey there may be tough at times, but the arrival is great."

"A time to mourn: For heaven sakes, why would we want to mourn? Of course we do when we lose loved ones to physical death, but the deeper meaning, here, is to yearn for spiritual awakening. Jesus said, "Blessed are they who mourn for they shall be comforted." (Matthew 5:4) In the Psalms it is written, "Thou has turned for me my mourning into joy. Thou hast put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness." (Psalm 30:11) Translation: Hang in there! It will pay off."

"A time to dance: Dance is a symbol of harmony and rhythm. It is one of the stages as we open to the higher Self, to a higher meaning, to our higher nature. As we come into harmony with the higher nature there is a kind of "soul dance." We dance and sing to celebrate the triumph of the higher nature (Exodus 15:20-21)."

"A time to cast away stones: Metaphysically stones stand for truth and for knowledge. Why would we want to cast truth or knowledge away? Sometimes in the cycles of life it is time to stop learning and start practicing. There are times to stop the study and to assimilate what we have learned; to integrate it. There is a time to cast the stones away."

"There is a time to gather stones together. Well that's simple. Given that stones represent knowledge and truth, we gather that knowledge and truth -- the stones.

"Then the Preacher goes on to say there is a time to embrace. Embrace, of course, means not only the physical thing that we like to do, but it means to open to, and to incorporate higher truths into our understanding; to welcome new opportunities and new understandings. But it is still great to do the good old fashioned embrace."

"Then there is a time to refrain from embracing; to not accept what is not appropriate. Some of the things we have embraced into our lives require a second look and we discover it is time to give them up because they are not for our highest good at that time in our life."

"There is a time to lose: In the cycles of life there are times of diminishing activity. The entire universe is set up in these cycles. Scientists talk about the big bang theory There is also a time to meditate; to turn inward, and then to come back out into the busyness of life. We pay our bills; we live out lives; we raise our families. But there will always be a time of turning inward. It also means to lose outdated beliefs and prejudices."

"And then a time seek; Jesus said, "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) The Preacher, later in Ecclesiastes, says, "And I gave my heart to seek and search out wisdom concerning all things that are done under heaven. To be engaged in it is a difficult task that God has given to the sons of man." (Ecclesiastes 1:13) That is what we are about. Whether we are doing it consciously or not, that is what we are up to."

"And then a time to tie up: To tie means to bind. "Whatever a man sows, he shall reap." (Galatians 6:70) The law is unforgiving. Once you trigger it, it responds, either to the positive or to the negative. So it is cause and effect. A time to tie up; a time to bind."

"A time to rend: There was an interesting practice in the Old Testament when, many times under stress of high emotion, the prophets would rend their garments. The rending of the garment is metaphysically a symbol of the rejection either of a truth or of an error. It also implies enlargement of the mind by the breaking forth of truth. There is a point in the trial of Jesus when the high priest rends his garments. It means he is refusing the truth and staying within his limited thinking. In other places in the Bible the prophets will rend their garments because of some error in thinking that is going on among the Israelites. What they are doing is rejecting the error. "

"Following that there is a time to sew: Not to sow in the sense of planting but to sew in the sense of repairing a garment -- maybe the garments that got rended! But when we repair the garments, we eliminate those portions that represent error thinking. The garment is our wisdom, our beliefs, our knowledge. What we must not do is put together a patchwork of beliefs and understandings. The truth is a whole cloth. What we must do, ideally, is focus on one teaching."

"And then a time to keep silent: To be still. In Psalms it says, "Be still and know I am God." (Psalm 46:10) Keeping silences and meditating."

"A time to speak: Jesus said, "What I tell you in the dark, [inner promptings] tell it in the daylight. What you hear in your ears, preach it on the house tops." (Matthew 10:27) What understanding God gives us within our own mind and heart must be shared with those who have not yet been exposed to the same light we may have received."

"A time to love. Paul said it so beautifully in I Corinthians, Chapter 13.:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love in my heart, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal,
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love in my heart, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love in my heart, I gain nothing. Love is long-suffering and kind; love does not envy; love does not make a vain display of itself, and does not boast, Does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not its own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, Rejoices not over iniquity but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge it shall vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is imperfect shall come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke as a child. I understood as a child,. I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a mirror, darkly; but then, face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. "

"A time to hate: A time to hate, in this regard, means to hate error; to hate the negative, etc. The Psalmist said, "He who works deceit shall not dwell within my house; he who tells lies shall not tarry in my sight." (Psalm 101:7) Without deceit we are not short circuiting inside with guilt and are emotionally much more open to the guidance of Spirit."

"And a time for war: The war between the higher self and the lower nature is what is being spoken of here. In that same song of Moses that was sung after the Red Sea had been crossed, there is the line, "The Lord is a mighty warrior." It speaks to the war we fight within ourselves, not a war that is to be fought between us. In the Bible the wars always signify the struggle between the higher and the lower selves. There is also the war in heaven in which Michael and his angels cast our Lucifer."

"And then there is a time for peace: That means the union of the higher and lower selves; the integration of our minds. We know that peace begins within each of us, and that is how it begins. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My own peace I give you, not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled. Be not afraid." (John 14:27) Then Paul said, "And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)"

There is a time for everything, but the only time is now. Finally, to bring this to a close I want to share with a story you may have heard. This is the story of the Zen Buddhist monk who was being chased by some kind of beast and in his haste he doesn't notice the cliff ahead. He plummets off the cliff grasping for anything to stop his descent. He finally grabs a bush growing out of the cliffside. He holds on for dear life as the bush gives a little more and a little more. The outcome was inevitable and he knew it. He looked over to a little cleft in the cliff, and there is a beautiful ripe strawberry growing there -- of all places. The monk plucks the strawberry and puts it in his mouth. The taste is exquisite! The end was inevitable, but there was a time for being in the experience -- and he was."

What an awesome song, what an awesome scripture, what an awesome way to live. If we could only understand that there is a season for everything, embrace that fact, and live each season as it is to be lived....we would have such great experiences.

Peace Out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Take Me Out to a Ball Game

I have never been a huge baseball fan. I like the game....but I have no idea what the stats of players are....nor do I care. I just enjoy watching the game. I am not a fanatic....I am just an interested observer. I have met the likes of Hank Aaron and Sandy Koufax when I was a child and the Braves and Expos did their spring training in West Palm Beach, where I grew up. They were both impressive men. The other day I found this little devotional about baseball and I had to share it with you today.

“In the seventh inning, Sandy Koufax found his arm once again and struck out the side. Larry “the Mouth” Davies catches a pop-up ending the inning with the bases loaded but not before Cal Ripken is hit home by Mike Schmidt: the score now stands as, All Stars 5 and Church Team only 3.

In sports, we quickly learn the sometimes ugly reality that one team wins while another must lose. Becoming a follower of God was never presented as a never-ending string of wins, victories and continual success. Sometimes, losing, tragedy and grief become part of our journey with God but either way I believe we are meant to play on a team and how we play, win or lose defines who we are. One of the most amazing things I find today is that kids are not taught that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. We seem to have taken away from the children and youth of today that sense of loss. It is sad because when they DO lose....and we all do sometimes they cannot handle defeat. I am a natural competitor and I hate to the point that I won't play Monopoly with my husband Frank because he ALWAYS therefore....I don't play, period. But given my natural instinct to win...which we all have by the way....I have lost in my life....and know how to deal with it. Fortunately since I was a young I have had God in my life...and understand how character building is played. I may not always like losing....but I do know that win or lose...God will get me through it...because....I am on the greatest team ever....I am on the Chosen Ones.

Romans 12 slightly altered using baseball terminology says: “And so, fellow teammates, I plead with you to give your team to God. Let them be willing to make a holy sacrifice—the kind deep in the outfield. When you think of what God has done for you, is this too much to ask? Don’t copy the behavior and customs of the other team, but let God transform you into a new player by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his coaching really is.” (Romans 12:1-2 NRBV – New Revised Baseball Version)

The best baseball teams are full of players who are ever willing and ready to give their all for the good of the team. These are the players you see slamming into the outfield wall or diving to the ground to make the big catch. Their passion and love for the sport is evident whether they are on the field or off. They live, breathe and eat baseball until at times you’re sick of hearing it but you admire their passion. That is what I pure and holy passion. I want the kind of passion for Christ....that I see at the ballgame on a Saturday afternoon. I want that Super Bowl shouting kind of dedication for Christ. So, I have to ask can I get some of that?....I want others to look at me and say those same kinds of words.....How can I get some of what she has?....or...I want a double dose of her enthusiasm. I don't want to be lukewarm....I want to be hot as a firecracker for Christ!

As Disciples of Christ we learn to concentrate on winning in a different way. We have the opportunity to give ourselves totally to God without reservation. This “give everything you have” attitude will allow God to transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. You will know God’s purpose and how much God wants to guide your life. Your passion and love for God becomes more evident whether in church or out. You live and breathe your passion for God until at times, others are sick of hearing you but they can’t help but admire your passion. This passion for God becomes your witness.

Speaking of passion… Jack Norworth wrote a poem in 1927 about Nelly Kelly a passionate fan who would rather go to a baseball game than anywhere else. The chorus is routinely sung during the seventh inning. Will you join me? “Take me out to the ball game. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. I don't care if I never get back. Let me root, root, root for the home team. If they don't win it's a shame. For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out, at the old ball game.”

Paul goes on to say in Romans: “As God’s player, I give each of you this warning: Be honest in your estimate of yourselves, measuring your value by how much ability God has given you. Just as your team has many players and each player has a special function, so it is with Christ’s team. We are all players of his one team, and each of us has different work to do. And since we are all one team in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs the others.” (Romans 12:3-5)
Good baseball players understand their strengths and weaknesses so when playing together as a team they know who plays first base, who bats cleanup and who pitches. I played right field in softball cause I am good at catching a left handers ball. I also played centerfield a good bit. I stink as a baseman. I am not agile enough....but in this devotional Paul is challenging us to honestly know our own gifts and talents so that we know what work we are to do. We are needed and wanted and knowing your gifts allows you to contribute in an exceptional way to God’s team.

Do you know your gifts? Your talents? Your strengths? Don't you think it is time you find out and get on the winning team....because let me tell or lose....with Christ on your are always a winner.

Peace Be With You!

Monday, June 23, 2008

28 Years of Love

Today is my daughters 28th birthday and I have been working on her present since Friday. Friday I sat in my pajamas and cried as I looked through 28 years of her life in photos. It has been a truly cleansing experience. How do you pick the right photos from boxes and boxes of them to fill a few frames. I love taking pictures and there are a lot of my kids. Anyways, I looked at all the pictures of my sweet munchkin and know....if I have ever doubted doing anything right....that for once I did something very good! She is a dream child. The one everyone wishes they had. I needed this child because she was my salvation during a most tumultuous time. The pictures reminded me of all the good and bad times during her life....the bad times not being evident in the pictures. The pictures show love....and she definitely is full of that. She is one of the most loving people I know on the face of the earth. I have never doubted her walk with Christ because every step she makes is a witness to that fact. She does not judge people and accepts all as they are. It is a good thing because I would have definitely come up short. I like to think I was a good mom....but then I have selective memory issues in my old age. The one thing I am sure of is that for 28 years I have loved everything about her....and today I, on her birthday, just wanted her to know that one simple fact. I love you baby!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I Am A Teacher

Wow! What an exciting past couple of days. My head is spinning with all the new technology I have learned. I have sat through a class on Dreamweaver and Adobe Fireworks. I learned more about blogging than I ever knew existed and there is still so much more to come. I will be attending classes on the Blackboard and podcasting this afternoon and I can hardly wait. It is amazing at all the stuff that is out there for the tech savy teacher of the twenty-first century. Amazing....absolutely amazing is all I have to say. When I signed up for the AETC conference back in April I was really just hoping to get my hours in before school started. We have to have 25 hours each year to keep our creditials current. I usually have way more than that....because to be honest I love learning. I do not ever want to be stale and tired in my classroom so therefore I attend a number of workshops through the year to keep my edge. Speaking of has an edge...if you don't live your life to its fullest capacity....then you lose your edge and become dull. I never want anyone to tell me I am dull. I want to be razor sharp always. This year is going to be a sad year.....Chad will not be working with me this year. His position has been eliminated and I will be the sole Spanish teacher for the system. I find this very kind of reminds me of the old days when I was the only teacher for three schools in the system. I hate that education has become such a pawn for Senators and order to get their own agendas passed they use the education budget as their hostage....this year is no different.....oh we talk a good game...we, the people, talk about education like it truly matters...but when it comes down to funding what we preach....well that is an entirely different matter.....that is why I am see what is out dream....our system is losing a million dollars this year......there will be no major technological overhaul....we will do without again....while other states move past us at lightening, internet connecting speed....we will drop down again to the lowest postion in the nation....the bottow 45. We already spend less than most states on our students....we rank lower than most states in most areas as well....yet our senators got a 60+ percent raise this year....where is the justice? How can we draw young beginning teachers to our state when the pay is low, the expenditures are low, ...everything is substandard....yet those of us who have been here forever still plug on....making the most out of nothing....spending money out of our own pockets to see that our students have the necessities and some extras....and by the time we implement the technology that I have seen in action here today....we will be even further behind. It is sad. It is sad that teachers....who teach doctors to be doctors and all the other professions be what they are....are barely at middle class income status. It is sad that pro sports athletes make mega millions....and teachers don't even draw 50,000 a year.....with a Masters Degree. We sponsor clubs, do dances, take care of the cheerleaders....all for is our job.....and we chose it. That is true. I did choose this job. I chose it...because I believed that I could make a difference.....and you know....when I see a student I had 10 years ago....that is successful.....I know I did....even if it is just for one. Oh, not all my students are success stories....I have a few that are guests of the state.....permanently....but those are exceptions. I have students who are wonderful moms....great football players....Indian chiefs.....and they are what they are today....because they passed through my life....and my classroom......and I am the better for it. Two roads diverged.....I took the one less traveled....and it has made a major difference in my life. To all my former students....thanks for allowing me to walk with you for a brief time.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Mother's Dream

On Sunday we celebrated Mother's Day. My husband, Frank, delivered a message that brought me to my knees. It was entitled, "A Mother's Dream" and I just have to share some of it with anyone who reads this.

"One thing we must always remember is that God chose our mother for us and us for our mothers. None of us could make that choice as a newborn baby, but God knew who would be the best for us. God, in His infinite wisdom and knowledge, knew just which mother I needed to teach me those things that He wanted me to know. I am a lucky mother is still here today and I know that at one time she had great dreams for me and for my little brother. In these days....too many mothers are not fulfilling their roles and are not training up their children in the ways of the Lord. I see this sad statement of truth everyday....I teach high school.

I can and do thank God for my mother because she cared for me, taught me right from wrong, and watched over me. Any mother worth her salt lives with a prayer on her lips that her children will grow to be strong, healthy, model citizens who live for God. I know mine did....and here I am today. I am not perfect....but I do live for God. Charles Spurgeon once heard his own mother praying, "Now Lord, if my children go on in sin it will not be from ignorance that they perish and my soul must bear swift witness against them at the day of judgment if they lay no hold on Christ and claim Him as their personal Savior." All Christian parents should pray....we cannot make our kids serve Christ but we have to teach them about Christ so that they can know what the way of Salvation is even if they choose not to follow it.

Frank and I have great hopes for our daughters and we have done and continue to do all we can to help them become the best they can be. It is a life-long job to encourage the girls to learn more, become more, and mature into the greatness that God has placed within them.

I am no different from any other mother....I dreamed of my children becoming doctors, lawyers, astronauts, firemen, policemen, ministers, teachers...or any of a host of honorable professions....of course they had to make up their own minds....just like I had to make up is my life. I love my job....I love every day that I get up and go be with the high school kids. It is the testimony of the love of a mother that no matter how far from God her children may run...or what kind of life they are living....she never gives up on them.....but continues to hope for their becoming great burns in her heart. I have run from God....and I know it made my mother sad....but I found my way back....and when I did...Oh Happy Day!

Thank God for mothers who never give up on their kids. Thank God for our mothers who never gave up on Frank or me. Thank God for a mother who cared enough to teach us about God. Thank God for a mother that stuck by us when we did not deserve her loyalty.

I want to encourage all mothers out there today to dream big dreams for your children and never give up on those dreams. When times are hard, hang in there and be the strength of your family. When the children push you to the breaking point, hold on to the hand of God and keep walking. You are responsible for raising and teaching your children in the fear of the Lord. Our society today is in trouble because too many mothers have forgotten their responsibility to their children or even have led them away from God and His word.

Dorothy Law Nolte's poem, "Children Learn What They Live" really hits home right now.

"If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.

If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.

If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.

If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.

If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world."

AND...if a child grows up in the church and learns the love of God, he or she will never forget it.!

Tears flowed freely from my eyes on Sunday. I want to thank my darling husband for letting God give him the words I so needed to hear.

I love you Momma. Thank you for giving me the road map I needed to find The Way!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The World's Worst Mother Award

In the Waverly bulletin last week I used a wonderful devotional I found online that was a tribute to Mother's. I have thought about it all week and felt like I needed to share it with my readers today.

I am no different from most kids. I thought most of the time that my mother was the worst mom alive. If I could have nominated her for an award it would have been the World's Worst Mother. So I have peeked your interest and you are wondering how is this a tribute to a mother....sounds like a slam to is a tribute. I am who I am because of my mother.... " 1. She made me eat green vegetables with nearly every meal. I now enjoy good health." If I had had my way it would have been oreos and french fries three meals aday. "2. She insisted on the use of a foreign language...."Yes sir and Please." I have good manners now because she taught me this foreign language. " Foreign...because I teach high school and these words are rarely heard in the hallowed halls of learning. The language I hear there is profane and vulgar. "3. She spanked me when I was out of line. I learned respect for the law and officials who carry it out." I think today's children need a little more of that kind of teaching....but parents don't anymore. "4. She required me to do chores and I developed good work habits and a drive to succeed." I hated those chores....especially when my friends were outside playing....and I was was not just was not fair. I made sure I made my kids do chores. "5. For yelling, "Clean up your pig-pen of a room." I remember one time having to wear dirty clothes to a party...because I did not put the dirty clothes where they were supposed to about an object lesson. I was mortified. "6. For forcing me to take typing in High School. I have an enduring practical skill." Although I do not type on a typewriter anymore....I can tear a computer keyboard up. Thanks Mom! "7. For nagging me to continue practicing the piano. I have an appreciation of music." I don't play the piano...that did not take....but I can play the guitar....and sing...and write music....and I owe it all to those agonizing piano lessons. "8. She encouraged me to read. She inspired a lifelong desire to learn and grow." I would still be in college if someone would pay me to be a student. I was also one of the youngest people to ever hold a library card in Palm Beach County's Public Library....I also devour books. I LOVE to read! "9. For dragging me to church ever Sunday. My mother allowed God to literally change my life." And here I am today....a preacher's wife....who would have thunk it? "10. When I wanted to be left alone during a difficult divorce she persisted in helping me care for myself and my daughter. Now, I more clearly understand the meaning of the word love. There you have it. The evidence is overwhelming. She consistently refused to allow me to do whatever I wanted and because of it, I am eternally grateful. My mother deserves to be honored as the "World's Worst Mother' and I praise God for her influence on my life and the life of my daughter. Solomon wrote about women like my Mother in Proverbs: "Her children arise and call her blessed: ' Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise..." (Prov. 31:28-31) Have you given an award to your mother lately?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

On Motherhood

Today I want to send a shout out for all the mothers who have sat up all night with a sick toddler in their arms, wiping vomit laced with a hotdog and red Kool-Aid as they said to their upset little one, “It’s okay, Mommy is here.” I have to digress for a moment and tell a story of my daughter Kathryn. I do not do vomit...never have...never night Kat and I were in the rocker....she had a severe ear of course came on Saturday morning....and by Sunday night and through all the old wives rememdies....I was exhausted....and so was she. Anyway, I was rocking her....holding her in front of me....looking at her....pleading with her to please sleep.....when she vomited....right in my face. It was not the cute little baby spit up.....ohhhh was full fledged vomit.....and as soon as it hit my face.....I vomited right back at her. There we both were....crying and rocking....and vomiting....until finally her daddy came and relieved me of my duties....sent me to bed....cleaned her up....and I sank into a much needed sleep. I woke up feeling like the worst mother of the year.....but it has made a great tale for mothers to be and what to expect. I have others....but Kat would kill me if I told them here. Moving the mothers who sat in a rocking chair for hours soothing a crying baby who could not be comforted any other way. To the mothers who have gone to work with spit-up and milk stains on their blouses and a diaper or wet wipes in their purse. For the mothers who run carpools, make cookies, sew Halloween costumes, sit in the car and catch up on bills and reading at ball practices, dance lessons and endless instrument lessons, there will be a jewel in your crown….and for the mothers who can’t….because they are busy supporting their family… will have one too. To all the mothers who gave birth to babies they’ll never see and the mothers who took those babies into their homes there is a special place for all of you. This is for the mothers whose priceless art collections hang on the refrigerator doors, I know some of my most valuable work was a Mother’s Day card, complete with drawings, done by my daughter at the age of 5, that proclaimed: “Moms are great, moms are grand, moms are everything but a man.” How profound she was at such an early age. To the moms who have sat on hard bleachers at basketball games instead of cleaning house and responded when asked, “Did you see me, Mom?”….with a smile and “Of course, I would not have missed it for the world,” sincere response. This is for the moms who yell at their kids in the grocery store and swat them when they stomp their feet and ask for ice cream before dinner. It is also for the moms who count to ten instead, and for the ones who battle with child abuse issues. Anger is a tough thing to overcome….especially if you are the single mom. This is for the moms who sat their children down and explained the facts of life….and for the grandmothers who wanted to, but just couldn’t find the right words. This is for the mothers who go hungry, so their children can eat. My mom used to practice FHB (Family Hold Back) and suddenly declare that she did not like apple pie anymore when company would drop in unexpectedly. For the mothers who read the same book twice a night for a year and then read it again, “Just one more time.” In our household it was I Can Do It Myself. I read it so much that Kat knew it by heart. She was also that way about the video of Robin Hood by Walt Disney. For all the mothers who taught their children how to tie their shoelaces before they started kindergarten, and for the mothers who opted for Velcro….there is no shame in Velcro….trust me. Sometimes you have to opt for the easier road. It does not mean you are a failure. My son just refused to learn to tie shoelaces. I think he was in the third grade before he ever mastered the technique. This recognition is for all the mothers who have taught their sons to cook and iron and taught their daughters to change a flat and cut the grass. For every mom whose head turns when they hear the word, “mom” spoken….even when they know their children are at home, at college, or have families of their own….it is instinct. For ever mother who has sent a child to school with a stomach ache…..assuring them they will survive….only to get a call from the school an hour later asking them to pick their child up…..Right Now! For the mothers of children who were victims of school shootings….and for the mothers whose children where the shooters….it is difficult either way. For the mothers of the survivors who sat in horror in front of the television….and hugged their child extra hard when they came home from school. For mothers whose children have gone astray….or runaway….and for the moms who have had to bite their lips when their child comes home with funny colored hair, a tattoo, or a nose ring. To all the mothers who taught their children that peaceful was the only way to handle conflict and now pray daily that their children will come home from the war….alive. Mother’s Day is a special day just for you….it is a time when your children….acknowledge that we are aware of all you do and sacrifice for us. It took me a long time to get that point…..actually….it took becoming a mother…..and realizing….that no matter how much you love your children….they will hurt you….they will grow up and have opinions of their own….they will leave home…..(sometimes they will return)…..but….they love you….just like you love them… is that always kind of love. So for all the mothers out there today… and old…..I salute you…..without you…most of us would not be who or what we are today. You were our driving force. Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On Being a Worthy Woman

I got an email this week from a woman friend of mine. It was very touching and made me think about all the things we as women do .....don't do....and bear the load for. I had to share it with those of you out there who read my blog. It is called:

One Flaw In Women
Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they
think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss
can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what
makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideas.
They give moral support to their
family and friends.
Women have vital things to say
and everything to give.
I just had to share this with all the women out there I know and don't know. This was written with me in mind....and I know it probably fits many of you. If I had to choose a major flaw and broadcast it....weight not would be that many times I have lost sight of my worth. Many of included are products of a strong willed parent. I had one of those. My mother is very strong willed and it resulted in me not having any self-esteem at all. I have been singing since I was mom could have been a stage mom for a beauty queen. All my life...I have had to sing on demand. Even today at 54, when my mom says....sing....I open my mouth and out comes a song. It is very frustrating to be treated in that way. My that was a different story....he has always been supportive, loving, kind, and when I was crying....he made me feel as if I was somebody. I never felt like somebody with my mom.....she was somebody....I was her shadow....or puppet....kind of like Waylon and Madame. I was the dummy doll. Oh, my mom loved me....she was just such a strong personality....that I got lost in the shadow of her. My dating life....was not much better....I tended to gravitate to people who were strong personalities...I was the wall flower of most groups....unless music was involved. Then and only then would I shine. I married young....I was 20....and my husband had a very strong personality....and a daughter with one too....Once again....I drifted into the woodwork. It was not until I had my daughter....that the fighter in me began to emerge. I realized....I was somebody....not just Ronnie's wife...and Jeni's mom....I was me....I was screaming to get I went to a Master's Degree.....I had arrived. When my daughter graduated from high school....I went one more step to freedom....I left my husband...and became single. Becoming single....was really just a justification....I had been a single mom a long time....just a married one. Sounds pecular huh? Well....I was a single mom....My life centered around the kids....his life centered around him. At the age of 44 I walked out on 22 years of marriage. I thought I was ready for it....but the first few months....I spent most of my time away from a fetal position crying myself to sleep. I was terrified. I wanted him to miss me....I wanted him to want me back....and it did not happen that way....I drew the line....he did not step across I had to find out if I truly could do it on my own....the day I signed my divorce papers....I got in my car....with no shoes purse....and found myself out of gas...outside of Tuscaloosa....a very kind employee at a truck stop....fed me, put a tank of gas in my car, and listened to me cry.....and when I tried to send money back....told me....just do something nice for someone it forward. I have never forgotten that day...I realized that day....I was somebody....worth being friends with....worth being the child of....worth being noted. That was in 2000. In 2002 I attended an Emmaus Walk....I found myself....with the help of a wonderful table of ladies that God put there just for me. He showed me how wonderful life can be....he does not make junk and I am His I am not junk! I am first run.....I am the best there is. Now, here I am in 2008. The group I sang with opened last weekend for Cowboy Crush....they said we were really good...I have a great husband....who is proud of me....encourages me....supports me....loves me inspite of myself.....I AM SOMEBODY OF WORTH. I AMA CHILD OF GOD! That makes me royalty! PTL!