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!”

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Uncle Drew

Uncle Drew
"Train up a boy hunting
and you will never have to hunt the boy,"
my Uncle Drew always said.
I remember this fond memory
even though my uncle is dead.
Mark and Drew and the
springer pups
were always in the woods;
hunting deer, dove, or
rabbits, anything they could.
Drew gave Mark his first gun
when Mark was only five.
I think that deep inside the woods,
they both felt
so alive.
None of us quite grasped
the bond that seemed so strong.
Because we had never heard
the sound of the
wood's soft song.
The song of birds and breezes
and animals all around.
The woods, a place where silence
and nature's
music abound.
Drew trained his boy up hunting
just like he said one should.
He never had to hunt his boy,
and you can still find
Mark in the woods.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Box

It was just a box. An old Christmas box cared with tears and rips. A junk box full of somebody else's memories. Why mother had not discarded it years ago was a mystery to me. She seemed enchanted by the little box. An avid worker of jug-saw puzzles, I think she saw the box as her ultimate challenge.

The origin of the box was cloudy. Both of my parents lived and breathed flea-markets and yard sales, so the box could have come from anywhere. When we found it, the box was safely tucked away in a large cardboard box full of old glasses and linens. The strange thing about the box was that it seemed out of place. A misfit, something from another time, another place.

The box just sat at my mother's house. Every now and then she would open "Pandora's Box" and try to visualize the people it had once belonged to. It was on one of those days that I entered the picture. I was visiting with my parents when I noticed this old Christmas box tucked away in a corner of the room. I jokingly asked about it because Christmas was just around the corner. My father laughed and told me to get the box and maybe I woule have some input about the box and it's contents.

I retrieved the box and opened it gently. Inside were several beautiful silk handkerchiefs folded and browning with age spots, two old valentines, obviously from someone who was very special, several letters, and four or five pictures. One picture, taken in 1949 at Jacksonville Beach, was of a handsome man. Who was he? What was his name? Was he the husband, father, brother, lover of the owner of the box? these questions rushed through my mind. The second picture was taken somewhere in the 1950's of an older man and woman. Could they be parents or grandparents perhaps? The third picture was a school picture of a cotton-topped "angel" about seven or eight years of age. There was no inscription or date. The last picture was another white haired beauty dressed in a pink feathered drape. This was obviously a senior portrait. I stared for a long time at this picture because it was hauntingly familiar. Was it deja vu? Did I know this person? But how did I know this person and from where?

I went home that evening puzzled and bewildered. Restless sleep followed, filled with dreams of the pictures from the box. The next day was Saturday and I returned to the box. Drawn like a sleep-walker to this hypnotic box, I read the letters and they offered no clues as to who the girl in pink was. On the back of ther pictures was written Kathryn. "Was the picture for Kathryn or of Kathryn," I asked myself.

On Wednesday, I was at work when one of our suppliers stopped by. He is a friendly fellow and a real family man. He had the newest family photo and could not wait to show it to me. When I looked at it I felt deja vu once again. The salesman's wife was a cotton-topped blonde and dressed in a pink blouse. I admired the pictures and the wheels of discovery began turning. After work that evening I went to my parent's house and borrowed Kathryn's picture.

The next Wednesday, when the supplier returned, I showed him the picture. He was floored. The girl in the picture was his wife, Kay! The two of us left the shop at lunch and went to see the box and after looking through the contents, Dan filled in the missing pieces of our puzzle. The little "angel" was in fact Kay's sister, Angel. The older couple; her grandparents, and the man from Jacksonville Beach was the man that hermother almost married. he was killed in action during the Korean War. All of these pictures had been sent to an aunt in Jasper, Alabama.

The letters were from the old, senile aunt to an old friend in California. When the aunt was committed to a nursing home, her son sold most of her belongings at an estate sale in Jasper. The buyer of the stuff had little or no use for the contents of the little Christmas box, and resold it at the Birmingham Flea Market. This was probably wehre my parents got the box.

"Pandora's box" produced a skeleton or two, an unsolved mystery, and hours of fun. "Pandora's box" is in the right hands now. The box is home where it belongs. "Pandora's box" is now "Kay's box." Kay has connected with her past. Another unsolved mystery laid to rest. Life, as it was, gones on. Que sera sera!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Uncle Cecil

I want to tell you about my uncle Cecil. He was my dad's brother and only a couple of years older than my father. He was a great storyteller. I guess some people would call him a teller of tall tales....or a b.s. artist. Whatever title you want to bestow on him, he could entertain us kids for hours with his tales. I think I got my ability to spin a tale from least I would like to think so. Uncle Cecil was a teacher and so am I. He taught air conditioning and refrigeration at the Palm Beach County trade school. He was good at his job....but he had a few hidden talents as well. He could write some of the prettiest poetry you have ever read....which many of us never knew until his death, and he could tell some of the greatest stories. Mark Twain would have been envious of this man's ability to weave a web of intrigue. My favorite story was about a fishing trip he went on one time. We lived in South Florida and all the men I know would fish the canal banks behind our house in the evening and the canals off the interstate on Saturdays. My uncle was no different. He loved to fish. One fall Saturday he was fishing a canal off the Florida turnpike. He had been fishing for hours and had finally run out of bait...problem was the fish were still biting. Uncle Cecil was a resourceful man and he looked around for something else to use as bait, when his eyes fell on a snake who was coming ashore with a frog in its clutches. He waited til the snake made land and walked over and thumped the snake on the head. The snake immediately opened his mouth and released its catch. My uncle was known to take a sip off the bottle every now and was one of those now days...after he took the snake's frog. He reached in his back pocket and pulled out his flask of Johnny Walker and shook a bit from the bottle in the snake's mouth. He took the frog and continued to fish. About an hour later my uncle said he felt something tugging at his pant leg. He looked down and there was his snake buddy. He was sitting there with his mouth wide open and had a line of frogs waiting for my uncle to use. My uncle shook a bit more Johnny Walker in the snakes mouth and continued to fish for many more hours with the bounty from the snake. Ok, now....remember....I was a kid. I bought into this story....hook, line, and you? Believe it or not!

Monday, March 17, 2008


Several years ago I went on a mission trip through Appalachian Service Project in Chavies, Kentucky. For those of you who have never heard of Chavies it is the home of the annual Cushaw festival. A cushaw is a goardy vegetable type thing. I was a project leader for the first time and my team consisted of another adult woman - Lenora, two teenage girls - Katie and Emily, and two teenage boys - Garon and Sach. Our house was a huge project....we had to dig, pour and install 21 holes for 21 support beams and do this in a week. The first day was very eventful. We met Malcolm. Our host houses next door neighbor. Malcolm, a.k.a. "June Bug" by the locals, came to check out what we "wuz a doin'" and to let us know we "wuz not doin' it right." He also wanted to know if we were interested in some barbie dolls they had cleaned out of a room making room for his 17 year old son. I was surprised that a 17 year old male was still living at home. Most young men by that age were married in Chavies and livin' in the "holler" near their parents. Anyways, Malcolm explained to us that he and his momma collected the barbie dolls....and proceeded to tell us how to tell the difference in a fake and real doll. If it is real there are two "shurefire ways you can tell." "First you pull up her hair," and he proceeded to lift the hair on the nape of my neck, "and see if U. S. of A. is stamped on her neck." The other way was the kicker...."You pull down her little panties and if she has Mattel stamped on her A$$ then she is the real McCoy." I spewed Coke all over the ground with that one. Later in the day Malcolm visited us again with a present for me, the "leaduh woman" - a nickname he bestowed upon me. My gift was a black flat rock. I was overjoyed. I thanked him for the rock....and he was a bit put out with me....informing me that it was not just "a ordinary rock....look at it." I did....and to my amazement saw all the fossils in the rock. I really was excited then.....but that was not enough....Malcolm grabbed my hand and began to pull me through the underhouse he could take me to the crick bank where it came from. I put on a screeching halt and explained that if I went....we all had to go....his disappointment was he said..."they cain't go....they will disturb things." Shades of Deliverance. So none of us went. Later that evening when we returned to base....the story of the barbie doll had preceeded us....and my senior pastor....came up behind me....raised the hair again on the nape of my neck and said he was just trying to see if I was the real thing. Willie Lemmond yelled from across the room and told him to try the other way....I could have died. My face turned maroon, you see I embarrass easily. After that day Malcolm met us every day with some sort of gift....or finding. I got flowers from his momma's garden one day. I got a piece of cake. In all the days we were there....I never got a barbie doll....but to this day I look at the blonde bombshell in a whole different light. I will never see a true Barbie without thinking of Malcolm from Chavies and smiling. What a summer that was.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Steven Curtis Chapman has a wonderful new song out called, "Cinderella." I heard it the other day on my way home from work and had to pull off the road as I sat and I cried my eyes out. The thing that made me the saddest was that even though the song applied to me, because I could hear me saying this to my did NOT apply to my little Cinderella, Kathryn. She never heard her daddy say those things to her. Oh, it was not because he was dead....he was just absent. His world revolved around him....not the two of us. I was there when she danced....I was there at her prom....but...I was not who she wanted....or needed at that moment. She needed her I had needed mine all those many years before. I want to share the words with all of you out there in blogspot land. They are very thought provoking....and for all the daddy's....who have let their daughters dance on their will come a day when you won't have Cinderella anymore....Prince Charming will have whisked her away....enjoy her while you can. I certainly did.
Cinderella - by Steven Curtis Chapman
Verse 1:
"She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,Without a care in the world.
And I'm sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders.
It's been a long day and there's still work to do,
She's pulling at me saying "Dad I need you!
There's a ball at the castle and I've been invited and I need to practice my dancin'"
"Oh please, daddy, please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with CinderellaI
don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone.
Verse 2:
She says he's a nice guy and I'd be impressed
She wants to know if I approve of the dress
She says, "Dad the prom is just one week away
And I need to practice my dancin'
"Oh please, daddy , please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone
Verse 3:
But she came home today with a ring on her hand
Just glowin' and tellin' us all they had planned
She says, "Dad the wedding's still six months away
but I need to practice my dancin'
"Oh please, daddy , please!"
So I will dance with Cinderella
While she is here in my arms
'Cause I know something the prince never knew
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don't want to miss even one song
'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight
And she'll be gone"
And trust day you lay them on their little tummy's in a blink...and they are walking down the aisle with the love of their life...midnight came way to fast for me...believe me. Happy Saturday....and Sweet Dreams Cinderella, I love you!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Little Grandmother

My Grandmother Prophitt was one of my most favorite people in the world. She was not even 5' tall.....that is why we all called her little Grandmother. All the grandchildren were taller than she the time we were 9. She was a fiery little lady....with the best smile and the biggest hugs. She worked the second shift at Avondale Mills where she wound cotton for many years. I remember lying in the bed at night in her Mill Village home, waiting for the mill whistle to blow and my grandmother to come walking in the door of her house. I can smell Avon products today, especially Skin So Soft, and be taken back to the days of my childhood. My grandmother loved Avon. We all have is a fact of life....some are better than others....some we love with all our hearts....some we tolerate....some we are afraid of. I was fortunate enough to have one grandmother during my life time that I adored. To those of you who read this....I hope it tickles a warm fuzzy memory for you too....and you start Easter week....smiling. Grandmother....this one is for you.

Grandma's Life Seasons
by Leigh Granville-Claymore
It was the spring when she began her journey towards winter.
Young, fragile, innocent
peeking her unknowing face into the world of being.
She became....a tiny, beautiful, fragrant flower.
In the summer of her life she grew like the rows of
weeds and vegetables found in any farmer's garden.
She produced the fruits of her labors,
but oftentimes because of insufficient tending,
her life vines came up with only a dried-up
remnant of what would have been.
Life was as hard then as the July heat.
As she neared the fall of her life she found
herself weary.
She looked forward to sheeding the unnecessary
in preparation for her winter's rest.
She had bloomed and grown and it was not
time to ungrow.
Time to just sit back and relax.
It is taking it easy time.
Take it easy she did. She had earned this.
The winter came on quickly, as winter often does.
The whiteness of her hair matched
the starkness of the ground.
Inseparable in contrast.
The hard lines in her face resembled the
dormant oaks in her front yeard; brittle, hard.
Winter - a time to sleep,
a time of peace.
Spring would be here soon and the life
season would begin for another...
and then another....
and finally me.
Peace to you all. Have a blessed day!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

To My Daughter on Leaving for College

Today I was having a moment of melancholy. I was cleaning out a bookshelf in my classroom and found a beat up notebook full of old writings and ramblings from years gone by. The one that struck me most interesting was actually a published piece. I got a check for this bad boy....and then I grew long ago had I written this....then I remembered....10 years had passed. When did that happen? It seemed like only yesterday my little precious....was starting first she has a classroom of her own. I read the poem again....and knew that I had raised an exceptional daughter....I was a success....I folded the papers back in the book....and placed it back on the shelf....then had a second thought and took one sheet out of the stack....and used it on my blog today....

To My Daughter on Leaving for College

The day dawned bright and shiny
Yet a storm was brewing in my heart
We loaded the last of your life in the car
And headed down a new highway
One that you would go alone.

I watched you silently from the passenger seat
This was a new role for me
I had done all I was supposed to do as a parent
And, I had to set you free

We unpacked, arranged and you flitted off
Like a beautiful butterfly.
I walked away from you...feeling suddenly very old.
You were on your own.

A thousand thoughts flooded my mind.
Had I told you this? Had I taught you that?
I shielded my eyes against the sun and tears.
And let you go. Fly baby.

....I fold the poem again.....smiled at myself....and knew...she had flown. God is good....and I am truly blessed this particular Thursday in March.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Lighting Up My Life

I have spent some time in my life walking in darkness, haven't you.? If you're like me, becoming a Christian did not change see....there are days when I still walk in darkness. It is not God's is all mine....cause I make that choice to walk in the dark. I am human....and I know that we all go through times of struggle, whether it be some sinful action or behavior or perhaps something out of our control, like the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job. Whatever it is there is no one on earth who can really identify with your situation other than yourself...and don't let them kid you.....I hate it when people come up to me in my darkness and say...."I know how you feel." I want to scream at them...."Do you? Do you really?....and when did you experience this feeling?" is that knee jerk reactio that makes it twice as hard to have hope sometimes. But there is some truly great news and that is that God loves me, us....the guy next door, the matter what our present situation is. In fact, I truly believe that God uses our experiences as character builders... to shape us to be like Him. I have this hope in Jesus because he has plans for my future. It is for that reason...that I keep holding on....clinging to the rope....hanging in there.....until the darkness passes....and the morning arrives....and I can look back down the path I have come....and laugh at myself....that I was ever afraid...and even when I feel myself letting go....I know that is not going to happen....cause He will be there to catch me. He lights up my world...and makes my dark times bearable. For that....I say....Amen and Thank You Jesus!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Treasures on Earth

My friend Robert, Dr. Bob, sent me a lenten thought for today and the verse was “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be
also.”—Matthew 6:21. This verse made me think....and for a Monday after springing forward with a time change that was a difficult task....but I asked myself, "just what are your treasures Karen?" I came up with the traditional treasures, my parents, my husband, my children, my church, my friends, my job, and some photographs that provide memories, my guitar that provides intertainment and stress allows me to create words, this blog, keep up with people.....All of these things I am truly grateful for. They provide my life with a sense of fullness and completion...but I had to think outside the traditional box....what would my real treasures be? Well...I think it would be the fact that I am a Christian. I have a relationship with Jesus that is by far my greatest treasure. I talk to Himdaily, walk with Him....and I know that I belong to Him. Of all the treasures in my life this one is definitely worth more than all the money in Fort Knox. I begin my first week of springing forward time...and the last week of school this term....I am truly a blessed person. I teach in a job that I know I am called for....and love every moment. I sing to a God I adore and who adores me. I sing professionally.....get paid sometimes....don't others...but it is ok...because I am using a talent that God has given me.....and I fill up my days with people I love...and who love me. I have an abundance of treasure on this earth....I am truly blessed....thank you God for giving me this life path to walk.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Dream, Dream, Dream

We all have dreams....well most of us do. When I was young I dreamed of being famous and buying my mother a baby blue Lincoln Continental. Don't ask me why....I thought my mother would love it....and therefore love me. My childhood dreams were replaced with teenage dreams. I wanted to be a mother surfer chick. I wanted to be a wife, mother, and surf all the time. I married relatively young...that is...if you call 20 young. By todays standards I was a baby. I was really a baby when you factor in the fact that I inherited a ready-made family. I had a four and five year old instantly....I was dreaming now of being super mom/wife. One day after my daughter, Kat, was born.....a friend of mine lost her husband in an accident. She had nothing to fall back on....and lost everything. I did not want that happening to me....I had a dream....I dreamed I would go to college and teach. But we had no extra money....I stopped by Aliant Bank one was First National then....and spoke with a young loan officer named Phil. He made my college dream a reality. I am eternally grateful to him for that. I finished college and began teaching. I dreamed again....I wanted to have a Master's Degree.....and it happened. I love Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech. I have had many dreams....some of them became realities...others of them were altered with time....and some of them never happened....but whatever the outcome of my dreams....they were that....dreams. I truly believe that when you quit dreaming you die....or stagnate. Last year I dreamed my husband, Frank, and I were poor at am a preachers funny is that? God used me to help him make a commitment he had been fighting for years. April 26th I have a dream coming to fruition. I have wanted to sing on the stage of the RiverCenter in Columbus....ever since it opened. Last week we, Still Magnolias, found out that we are opening for Cowboy Crush. I don't care if I am the opening act....or the headliner....I am singing from the stage at the RiverCenter. I had a you think my mom might still want a baby blue Lincoln? LOL....dream on folks...dream on. If you can dream can achieve it....if it is in God's plans for you.